MNRF has another crack at floating accommodations

I’m a bit late to this update, but after the Ministry of Natural Resources and Forestry did a complete 180 on its proposal to radically restrict anchoring rights of boaters in an ostensible effort to address floating cottages, the ministry posted a revised proposal that it hopes can target what the ministry was supposed to be addressing in the first place. “We are proposing to amend the regulation to exclude floating accommodations or float homes (house-like structures incorporating a floatation [sic] system, intended for use or being used or occupied for residential or longer term purposes and not primarily intended for, or usable in, navigation) or barges with residential units or camping facilities.”

CBC reported today on the controversy, and there is considerable skepticism that the province will have any success, given how broad anchoring rights are as part of navigation rights under the Canada Shipping Act. Unless the federal government tightens up what sorts of vessels do and do not enjoy these rights, it is indeed hard to see how the province will be successful.

The province is proposing to ban certain floating structures, but the federal act is so generous in its application that even a barge pushed by a tugboat has navigation rights, which include anchoring. And I don’t know how it is going to eliminate floating structures “not primarily intended for, or usable in, navigation,” when “navigation” is a pretty ephemeral activity that basically means going from A to B on the water. I frankly can’t see any difference, legally, between a motor yacht leaving a marina, going a couple miles, anchoring somewhere for up to 21 days (as current occupation of the crown bed allows), then going straight back to the marine, and a floating structure either towed or propelled by outboards doing exactly the same thing.

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