Mystery Spill, Paddle Wheel Park (2016)

LOCATION: Paddlewheel Park, Vernon, British Columbia

Case number: 120-709-C1

The Incident
A small pleasure craft at the boat launching ramp in Paddlewheel Park, Vernon, B.C., apparently abandoned and sinking, was the source of an oil spill. The RCMP reported the incident to Vernon Fire Rescue Services on September 25, 2016. A small oil slick was visible emanating from the partially submerged fibreglass pleasure craft.

Vernon Fire Rescue Services dispatched an employee to install a sock at the base of the launching ramp and an absorbent boom to contain the slick, which covered an area approximately 600 square metres. After inspecting the site, the Public Works Coordinator for the City of Vernon contacted appropriate authorities including the Canadian Coast Guard (CCG). On September 26, 2016, the CCG provided a Direction Order to the City of Vernon to proceed removing all hydrocarbon and chemical pollutants from the boat or to remove the vessel from the water.

On September 27, 2016, the City of Vernon Public Works staff removed the boat from the water and transported it to the town’s local disposal facility. Vernon Fire Rescue Services recovered the oil boom and other materials for appropriate cleaning and disposal.

The Claim
On April 3, 2017, the Administrator received a claim in the amount of $2,011.56 submitted by the Corporation of the City of Vernon (City of Vernon) pursuant to section 101 of the Marine Liability Act, for costs incurred in removing the pleasure craft and pollution clean-up work.

The Administrator determined that the claim was admissible under Part 7 of the Act.

Assessment and Offer
On June 19, 2017, after investigation and assessment of the claim, the Administrator made an offer to the City of Vernon for the established amount of $1,586.62, plus interest, pursuant to section 105 of the Act. Interest was deemed to be in the amount of $39.61.

The offer’s reduced amount versus the claim was mainly due to the following:

  • Charges related to overhead salary costs (47%) and administrative fees, at rates that were not found to be reasonable. These charges were accepted at a reduced amount.
  • A 5% GST charge was applied to the total amount of the claim and invoiced to the Fund, as though the Fund had bought taxable services provided by the City. This GST charge was disallowed.

July 10, 2017, the offer was accepted by the City of Vernon.

On July 19, 2017, the Administrator directed that the amount of $1,626.23 (which included $39.61 in accrued interest) be paid to the City of Vernon.

The file was closed on August 2, 2017.