English Bay Spill vs Kitsilano Coast Guard Station Update

Department of Fisheries and Oceans Minister Gail Shea has announced that the Canadian Coast Guard will complete a “robust” review of the April 8 & 9 fuel spill in English Bay by the end of July, and it will be made public. According to a Globe and Mail report, the Minister said during a recent news conference “We all share the view the primary objective is to collectively be more prepared for the future.”

Minister Shea said she understands the “anguish” the spill caused for local residents and added “I understand and share the frustration of having a foreign ship enter our harbours and leak oil into our waters.” While, of course, that is frustrating indeed, Minister Shea really needs to understand that the critical essence of our frustration and anguish is that: we were collectively more prepared for such a spill before the Kitsilano Coast Guard Station was closed in 2013 to save just $700K per year.

This does not need to be complicated. Vancouver needs a strategically located Coast Guard station with the equipment and capability to respond immediately and button down a leaking ship within an hour. We had that; we need it brought back. There is a purpose built, earthquake resistant, coast guard station building sitting empty in Vancouver. Simply bring the dock back, bring the equipment back, activate the 12 crew required to staff it 24/7/365; and the next time a spill happens we will collectively be more prepared; and we’ll all sleep a little better at night knowing that our federal tax dollars have, in this instance, been well spent.

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This Pollution Response Vessel PRV, (photographed at the Kitsilano Coast Guard Station in 2012) was part of the spill response program at the station which included enough spill boom to surround a large ship and crews trained in spill response. The Canadian Coast Guard Commissioner has falsely stated that the Kitsilano Coast Guard Station had no pollution response capability and would not have made a difference in the April 8 & 9 spill in English Bay

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