Live in the Pacific Northwest and/or have a hankering to dive there?
Well, the region will have a new dive attraction soon: a Canadian navy destroyer.
The former HMCS Annapolis, a 366-foot/110-meter helicopter-carrying destroyer-escort, is scheduled to be intentionally sunk this coming weekend in the waters of Halkett Bay Provincial Marine Park on Gambier Island, British Columbia, making it the first artificial reef in the Greater Vancouver area.
The Artificial Reef Society of British Columbia (ARSBC), which spearheaded the Annapolis project, says it has sunk more ships to create marine habitats than any other non-profit group in the world. This particular project, though, wasn’t without hurdles, including the 2008 recession which brought about the rapid fall of recycled metal values.
“The story of the Annapolis Project is a complicated one on many levels and the Reef Society has kept working diligently to make this project a success for Vancouver,” said Society President Howie Robins.
The project also encountered changing federal government regulations. Then the impacts arising from emerging environmental concerns and legal challenges all forced project timelines and costs to be extended. To date, the Project has consumed more than 17,000 person-hours on the part of more than 1,000 volunteers who came out to complete the preparatory work on the ship.
Volunteers helped clean the ship of hazardous and pollutant materials in compliance with federal regulations and recycle an estimated 250 tons of materials — just about everything minus the steel hull and aluminum superstructure.
“The Reef Society has all the required federal and provincial permits and with the final legal challenge now resolved, the project is moving fast into its final phase,” Robins said.
The ship will be towed from Long Bay (also known as Port Graves) to neighboring Halkett Bay for anchoring over the sink site. Final preparations will be made before sinking on Saturday April 4, expected to take place in the late morning depending on the weather.
For more information, check out the society’s website.