VANCOUVER (NEWS1130) – There’s another prediction that the federal government will eventually reverse its decision to close the Coast Guard station in Kitsilano.

The manager at the Jericho Sailing Centre tells us he saw the same situation 20 years ago, when the government of the day tried to close the station.

“And it was the same thing,” says Mike Cotter. “Kim Campbell dragged her feet and Brian Mulroney dragged his feet, and we’re not going to quit.”

“We’re people who are out on the water. We’re working on the water, we’re playing on the water,” says Cotter.

BC Ferries transports 10 million people a year, SeaBus five million people a year. This is the busiest waterway in Canada. It’s too important, we’re not going to go away, and eventually I think they are going to change their mind.”

Cotter notes the JSC operates its own volunteer rescue program because it doesn’t want its members to overburden the Coast Guard with calls for help. “And what’s going to happen when they pull out is it’s going to work the other way around. We’re going to be burdened with rescues that are really the Coast Guard’s responsibility.”

He blames Coast Guard management for the decision to close the base in Kits, calling the leadership “bean counters and bureaucrats,” who do not have a minute’s experience on the deck of a ship.

“Obviously, they’ve put a dollar amount on the value of a Canadian life, or the life of one of our visitors to Vancouver. We can’t do that,” insists Cotter. “We value every life, and we want to make sure and know that the Canadian Coast Guard lives up to their mandate to protect Canadian lives in our waters.”

He thinks it’s great that Royal Canadian Marine Search and Rescue is getting an extra $100,000 in funding to improve its rescue capabilities.

“But it’s certainly not a replacement for the full-time operational Kitsilano Coast Guard Station,” he adds.