Federal candidates voice concern on Coast Guard centre closures

Vancouver Harbour oil spill brings new light on closings

  • Apr. 15, 2015 1:00 p.m.

Record Staff

Local non-governing federal candidates have been quick to express their displeasure at the federal government’s planned closures of Island Coast Guard services, in light of the Vancouver Harbour oil spill.

Green Party, Liberal and NDP candidates alike are questioning the federal government’s planned closures of targeted Marine Communications and Traffic Centres, such as the one in Comox.

“Last week’s oil spill in Vancouver Harbour showed how much is at stake,” said North Island-Powell River NDP candidate Rachel Blaney. “Instead of defending the response we saw in Vancouver, the Conservatives should start listening to British Columbians and restore Coast Guard services.”

“We’re pressing the Harper government to learn from the Vancouver oil spill and reverse its cutbacks to marine safety,” added  Courtenay-Alberni NDP candidate Gord Johns.

The NDP has set up an online petition to reverse cuts to coast guard services. The petition  can be found at: www.ndp.ca/bc-coast-guard

Meanwhile, Glenn Sollitt, the Green Party of Canada’s candidate in Courtenay-Alberni, said the government is headed in “the wrong direction” in moving to close Coast Guard communications centres in Comox, Tofino-Ucluelet and Vancouver,

“In light of the recent spill in English Bay… reducing Coast Guard resources is the wrong direction,” said Sollitt, whose riding is covered by these stations.

 

The Coast Guard’s Tofino centre, located in Ucluelet, is set to close April 21; Vancouver will close May 6 and Comox will close in early 2016.

Marine traffic monitoring and communications in Comox and Vancouver will be moved to Victoria. The services in Tofino-Ucluelet will be moved to Prince Rupert.

“These centres are responsible for listening to distress calls and guiding ships,” said Sollitt, a former commercial fisherman on both the east and west coasts of Vancouver Island. “Closing them increases the risk of shipping accidents. It may mean missed distress calls.”

Sollitt noted that the closing of the Kitsilano Coast Guard Station in 2013 was cited in the delay in responding to last week’s spill of bunker-C oil in English Bay.

 

“We just had an incident in which it took six hours to respond to an oil spill right off the beaches in downtown Vancouver,” Sollitt said.

“What will happen when the response to an incident off of Courtenay-Comox or Parksville-Qualicum is coming not from Comox but from Victoria?

 

“With these closures, our Island communities are losing jobs and services, our fishers and other mariners are being put at increased risk, and our shorelines are facing greater exposure to environmental disaster.”

North Island–Powell River Liberal candidate Peter Schwarzhoff questions the reasoning behind the planned closures.

“The Harper Conservatives have failed to make a strong case for reducing the number of call centres,” he said. “They leave us to conclude the closures have more to do with reducing government services and nothing to do with efficiency. In the process, badly needed economic inputs in smaller communities disappear.”

Vancouver Island North MP John Duncan could not be reached on short notice to comment on the situation.

 

Just Posted

YANA a blessing for Michaela, Harley, and Baby Violet

Comox Valley association a pillar of the community

Deadline looming for North Island College scholarship applications

Students have until April 24 to apply for a record number of… Continue reading

AspieComic Micheal McCreary coming to the Comox Valley

Comox Valley Child Development Association hosting the fundraising event

BC Ferries to pilot selling beer and wine on select routes

Drinks from select B.C. breweries and VQA wineries to be sold on Swartz Bay to Tsawwassen route

VIDEO: Snowbirds arrive in Comox for annual spring training

The Canadian Forces Snowbirds have arrived in Comox for their annual spring… Continue reading

VIDEO: Alberta man creates world’s biggest caricature

Dean Foster is trying to break the world record for a radio show contest

Chaos at the ferry terminal for people heading from Vancouver to the Island

Easter crowds create backlog at Tsawwassen ferry terminal

B.C. RCMP receive application for Police Cat Services

RCMP announced the launch of the Police Cat Services unit as an April fools joke

Kirkland Signature veggie burgers recalled due to possible metal fragments

Recalled products came in 1.7 kg packages with a best before date of Apr. 23, 2019

Parents of 13 who tortured children get life after hearing victims

One of their daughters fled their home and pleaded for help to a 911 operator

Flooding, climate change force Quebecers to rethink relationship with water

Compensation for victims of recurring floods limit to 50% of a home’s value, or a maximum of $100,000

Storms blast South, where tornadoes threaten several states

9.7 million people in the Carolinas and Virginia at a moderate risk of severe weather

Private cargo ship brings Easter feast to the space station

There are three Americans two Russians and one Canadian living on the space station

Notre Dame rector: “Computer glitch” possible fire culprit

The fire burned through the lattice of oak beams supporting the monument’s vaulted stone ceiling

Most Read