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Council of Canadians joins call to reopen the Kitsilano Coast Guard Station


This morning the Council of Canadians joined with Leadnow.ca, the Union of BC Indian Chiefs, Defend the Coast and other allies to demand that the Harper government reopen the Kitsilano Coast Guard Station and ban increased tanker traffic through British Columbia’s sensitive waterways.

They did so by delivering oil covered rocks and a petition with more than 14,000 signatures to the Port Moody constituency office of Conservative MP and Minister of Industry James Moore.

Several years ago, the Council of Canadians supported the protests against the Harper government’s decision to close of the station. We highlighted that in these two blogs: Support the occupation of Kitsilano station against Harper’s planned closure of the base (September 2012) and Rally opposes Harper’s closure of Kitsilano Coast Guard station (January 2013).

KitsilanoThis morning’s protest was organized after the spill of bunker fuel in English Bay (or more accurately, the waters and lands of the xʷməθkwəy̓əm, Sḵwx̱wú7mesh & Səl̓ílwətaʔ peoples) on April 9. It took emergency responders from Richmond 6 hours to arrive on the scene of the spill, while responders from the Kitsilano Coast Guard Station could have been there in 6 minutes.

Leadnow notes, “While the Conservative cuts undermined the spill response, the best available technology can often only recover 10-15% of oil spilled. Even with a ‘world-class’ response, a spill from a supertanker will be devastating, and banning increased tanker traffic is the only way to prevent a disaster.”

We agree.

Vancouver-based Council of Canadians organizer Harjap Grewal has commented, “With increased oil and gas infrastructure and vessels at the shores of the lower mainland the probability of oil spills will only increase. The oil spill reminds us that we should not be asking if there will be a spill but rather when and how often. A moratorium on new infrastructure and vessel traffic along with a phasing out of existing infrastructure is the best course of action for the health of the coast lines as well as the climate.”

Further reading
Bunker oil spill in English Bay raises concerns about further spills (April 2015 blog)

Photos by Harjap Grewal.