Shipwrecked in Kitsilano
literaryguru | April 17, 2010 at 02:01 pmby
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Randy van Eyk has lived the life of a true West- Coast Mariner. He has lived aboard his 40 foot sailboat, the “Tuesday Sunrise” for 23 years, wandering what insider’s will tell you is the most beautiful coastline in the world: the inside passage between Vancouver Island and Mainland British Columbia; the Gulf Islands. Scattered with islands of immeasurable beauty and home to a plethora of marine life, the lifestyle of those pioneering these waters is vigorous, adventuresome and at times very, very dangerous. It has been made much more dangerous in the last few years by bylaws that discriminate against the envied lifestyle of those that prefer to be called “liveaboards,” in other words, those who permanently live on their boats. Harbour Authorities from up and down the coast have a “black list” of people such as this. If you are on that list, you are denied access to all public docks. Randy is one of many on that list.
When the storm rolled in onto our coast last week, playing a cruel April Fool’s joke on Vancouver's Mariners, Randy was forced to come in to find refuge in our local waters. Unable to safely tie up to a public dock, he was forced to drop anchor off the shores of Kitsilano Beach. The storm then pounded in, sending boats skidding into each other and eventually depositing them onto the beach. While no one was hurt physically in this event, many of the boats, and the lifestyles they facilitate, were destroyed. Randy and many of the other boaters were forced to sit out the storm in a compromised position due the authoritarian mandate allowed our Harbour Authorities. All of this could have been avoided.
In Section 7 of the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms there is the right to security of the person, which consists of rights to privacy of the body and its health and of the right protecting the "psychological integrity" of an individual. That is, the right protects against significant government-inflicted harm to the mental state of the individual (Blencoe v. B.C. (Human Rights Commission), 2000). This means Randy and his fellow Mariners have the right to challenge the government-mandated bylaws that infringe on the security of their persons. All they lack is a lawyer willing to take on the case.
West-Coast Mariners are an essential component in British Columbia’s rich heritage and culture. These coastlines have been mapped and pioneered by men and women willing to risk their lives to engage the grandeur this magnificent coastline offers. The systematic intolerance of their way of life endangers the lifestyle they embody and threatens the lives of those willing to fight for their right to enjoy the beauty found off of our shores. Please do what you can to disseminate this struggle throughout the Internet and, hopefully, someone will come forward willing to help Randy take a legal stand on this issue.
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