Ferry owner owes Township $100,000

Gerald Tapp has not paid a penny toward a 10-year-old debt, says Township's lawyer

The former Queen of Sidney

The Langley man whose ship graveyard in Mission has been making headlines will be on the hook for around $100,000, for the provincial government’s costs of securing seven derelict boats from washing away, including a rotting Queen of Sidney moored on the Fraser River in Mission.

But the lawyer for Langley Township says Gerald Tapp also owes nearly that same amount for a similar situation in 2002. So far, he hasn’t paid a dime, said Township lawyer James Goulden of Bull, Housser & Tupper.

The Township was awarded a judgment in 2002 to clean up a property he owns in the 24900 block of River Road.

That property had “unlawful dwelling unit, the unlawful shed, the unlawful float homes and barges, the unlawful trailer, all unlawful construction, as well as rubbish, discarded items, pieces of wood, paint cans, tarps, hoses, wrecked motor vehicles and other miscellaneous chattels,” said the Supreme Court Judge Davies in his 2002 judgment.

“The clean up cost was $75,000. That was 10 years ago, so plus interest, we are looking at around $100,000 he hasn’t paid,” said Goulden. “The money he owes has been put against the title of his property.”

A piling company hired by the province worked to secure the former Queen of Sidney ferry and six other derelict ships moored at Tapp’s waterfront property in Mission on Friday.

Bridges, power transmission lines and the downriver house boating community were at risk if the ships were pulled loose by floodwaters and swept downstream.

B.C.’s environment minister issued an emergency declaration last week and experts came into to secure the ships so they could withstand the rigors of this year’s freshet.

Inside the former BC Ferry are a collection of classic cars and other vehicles and furniture.

On Wednesday, the Ministry of Environment said it will attempt to recover its costs from the Tapps under the provisions of the B.C. Environmental Management Act.