03/12/2015 02:32 EDT | Updated 05/12/2015 05:59 EDT

HMCS Annapolis can be sunk to make artificial reef, federal court rules

A federal court has cleared the way for the former Canadian Navy destroyer HMCS Annapolis to be sunk off Gambier Island, located northwest of Vancouver, to make an artificial reef.

The Save Halkett Bay Marine Park Society had argued in court that Environment Canada did not have the authority to grant a permit for the sinking of HMCS Annapolis in the sea because it allegedly had a toxic chemical in the anti-fouling paint on the hull.

But on Thursday morning, Justice Paul Crampton ruled the permit issued to sink the ship was not "unreasonable" because the anti-fouling paint was in a "non-active state" because of its age, and the Canadian guidelines on the clean-up of the ship were consistent with international standards.

Crampton also ruled the application had been filed too late to block the sinking, and dismissed the application to block the sinking, lifted a federal prohibition on moving the ship, and awarded costs to the federal government and the Artificial Reef Society of B.C.

The Artificial Reef Society of B.C. has been working since 2008 to sink the former Canadian warship in Halkett Bay Marine Park in Howe Sound to create the eighth artificial reef in B.C.

But local residents and environmental groups opposed the sinking, saying the bay is too small and the ship too big, and tests show that the paint on the bottom of the ship is toxic.

Google Maps: Halkatt Bay Provincial Marine Park