English Bay Spill vs Kitsilano Coast Guard Station Update

English Bay Still Closed to Fishing
& Con MP’s Still Expecting us to Buy Their Fishy Story

5-13-15-#1

More than a month now after the relatively small April 8th & 9th bunker C oil spill in English Bay was met with Canadian Coast Guard’s current definition of a “world class” response, English Bay is still closed to fishing, and something still smells really fishy here in Vancouver.

Beaches in West Vancouver along MP John Weston’s North Shore riding were particularly hard hit; one is still closed: yet, Mr. Weston and his BC PC colleagues are still trying to convince the people they represent, and all Canadians, that the Kitsilano Coast Guard Station was not equipped to respond to such spills and wouldn’t have made a difference, despite a preponderance of evidence to the contrary.

Local PC MP Randy Kamp told the Canadian Parliament: “The Coast Guard Commissioner has confirmed that this station never provided these types of environmental response operations, and its presence would not have changed how the Coast Guard responded to this incident. Ranking BC PC MP James Moore recently wrote to a concerned Canadian* ” Experts have been crystal clear that Kitsilano was not equipped to handle the recent pollution incident in Vancouver Harbour,…”. Nobody else on the west coast of Canada is buying this fishy sea story gentlemen, why are you?

It should be obvious to any landlubber that when actual experts; the former Commander, officers and crew of the Kitsilano Coast Guard Station; say they had all of the equipment and training to provide the timely response required to keep spills such as the April 8th & 9th (it actually leaked over 2 dates) from polluting Vancouver’s shorelines, they are telling the truth. Throughout their careers these people went  to work everyday prepared to put their lives on the line to save people in distress on the ocean, or to save the ocean itself – they are not the ones lying to Canadians.

There are 20 commercial anchorages in Vancouver’s outer harbour and 3,000 ships transit through First Narrows annually. Of course the Kitsilano Coast Guard Station, strategically located in Canada’s busiest port, would be equipped with a Pollution Response Vessel (shown in photo), enough floating boom to surround a leaking ship, and capable crews trained in rapid spill response. To say it wasn’t is a deplorable deception and bait only the most gullible flounder would swallow.

An hour to contain a leaking ship in Canada’s busiest port is the response capability the Kitsilano Coast Guard Station provided Canadians and is of vital importance to the people of Metro Vancouver. One hundred million dollars worth of ship borne Canadian commerce flows through Vancouver’s port each day. Closing our strategically located, equipped  and crewed coast guard station to save $700K a year was a grossly misguided decision and an environmentally Titanic mistake.

Mr Weston, Mr. Moore, Mr. Kamp and all of your BC PC MP colleagues; there is very little time for you to steer your ship back on course.There are 5 months until the next federal election; your Liberal and NDP Parliamentary colleagues have all said they will re-open the Kitsilano Coast Guard Station if their parties are elected.  If you have any influence at all in Ottawa, now is the time to show your leadership. As long as you keep on trying to sell us Canadian Coast Guard management’s fishy story that the Kitsilano Coast Guard Station did not have the spill response capability required to protect our treasured marine environment, we here at Vancouver sea level, who know that fishy smell all too well; will keep on taking the time to politely correct you.

5-13-15-#2

We will continue to show these photos from 2012 of the dedicated Pollution Response Vessel based at the Kitsilano Coast Guard Station which disproves the Canadian Coast Guard Commissioner’ claim that the station had no environmental response cabability. Retired former base Commander Fred Moxey has stated the station was well equipped and responded to many spills over the decades he was stationed there. Retired Coast Guard Captain Tony Toxopeus trained many Coast Guard Crews in Environment Spill Response at Kits.

*Concerned Canadian Sara Kalis Gilbert, daughter of a former Kitsilano Coast Guard Station Captain, has been championing a campaign to re-open the Kitsilano Coast Guard Station. Since last month’s spill she has started an on-line petition, has written to the Prime Minister as well as several MP’s and Senators. In a recent letter to the Coast Guard Commissioner refuting the Coast Guard’s assertion that the base was not equipped for environmental response, Sara included the following environmental response equipment and supply inventory as well as training details:

“-CG 701 49′ Oil pollution response vessel with 500′ Self inflating Boom, an oil skimmer and sorbents (which has been up on blocks since the base closure)
-The dock at Kitsilano had a large aluminum box at the end of her dock with 500′ of 24″ “Fence boom”
-the Custom built oil spill kit shipping container located at Kits Base (and every Lifeboat station on the west coast) had 500′ of 24″ fence boom, an T-Disk” oil skimmer, a power pack, 100′ of oil sorbent boom and bags and bags of sorbent pads.

The “M.V. Marathassa” is approximately 700′ long. There was enough equipment and material and trained personnel available to provide an effective response to this spill. Coast Guard “coxswains” self-task on a regular basis; they don’t wait for a call from the R.O.C. ( Regional Operations Center ). Sixteen hundred Western Region personnel were trained in Basic Oil Response. This is documented. Kitsilano Base hosted two of these courses and had more than twice the available equipment than any other lifeboat station on the West Coast. Incidentally, hovercrafts are of no use in oil spill situations.”

You can add your name to Sara’s online petition at Change.org

More next week…

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