In the summer of 1991 the Jericho Rescue vessel “Jericho Marks” was among the first craft to respond to a” Mayday” distress call from the Canadian Coast Guard Station Kitsilano which had caught fire and was in the early stages of burning to the high water mark. The following year the Canadian Government let it be known, during a period of intense Coast Guard budget cuts, that they had no intention of rebuilding the Kitsilano Coast Guard Station. A landlubber decision if ever there was one.
A massive public outcry ensued, followed by an actual broad public consultation (not like the one imagined by ranking BC Conservative Minister John Moore last week) ending with a government commissioned review that concluded that the Canadian Coast Guard Kitsilano Station is vital to our country, for among other reasons, the security of the economic prosperity of Canada. Why? Because it is centrally located within 10 minutes of the most economically prosperous coast in the country- the First Narrows and Vancouver Harbour. Move essential Canadian Coast Guard resources 30 minutes away from the largest port in the country? Even a guy from Alberta should be able to figure this one out.
From a human safety point of view, the review also concluded that within a 10 minute radius of the Kitsilano Coast Guard Station there is the highest concentration of mixed commercial and recreational marine traffic, anywhere in Canada. This is still the case today and the landlubbers in Ottawa need to wake up and smell the sea salt air.
For the millions of people each year who work, play and transport though Burrard Inlet/English Bay/False Creek and Vancouver Harbour, the Kitsilano Coast Guard station is a very well placed, essential marine rescue, fire and ambulance station. By relocating to Sea Island in south Richmond the Canadian Government is choosing to delay professional emergency response capability to the core of Vancouver’s marine population by at least 30 minutes and this will most certainly cost lives.
Here is what you can do in the current fight to keep the Kitsilano Coast Guard Station:
A) Write To:
Minister of Fisheries and Oceans Min@dfo-mpo.gc.ca
Commissioner Canadian Coast Guard Marc.Gregoire@dfo-mpo.gc.ca
B) Sign on to the Facebook page “Save the Kitsilano Coast Guard Base”
C) Sign the online petition: