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Kitsilano Coast Guard station is suddenly closed

VANCOUVER (NEWS1130) – Effective immediately, search and rescue services from the Kitsilano Coast Guard Station have been discontinued by the Conservative Government.

An emergency vigil started at 5 p.m. outside the station.

Ottawa had not given a firm date on its closure.

Deputy Coast Guard Commissioner Jody Thomas informed the national office of the Union of Canadian Transportation Employees by telephone.

National UCTE President Christine Collins says the federal government’s decision is unbelievable. “To suddenly close the Kitsilano Coast Guard Station that serves Canada’s busiest port in the middle of the winter with no notice is simply outrageous,” Collins says.

Vancouver Councillor Kerry Jang is steaming mad. “All the measures that the conservatives have put into place, we feel from a professional perspective, are not adequate and will put lives at risk.”

He says the federal government has shown a blatant disregard for the lives of mariners.

Mike Cotter, General manager of the Jericho Sailing Centre says it’s sad and there’s been continued opposition that the feds aren’t listening to.

“Members of the Vancouver marine safety network, the City of Vancouver, the province, we’ve all been very clear  this is going to cost lives on the water unnecessarily, sadly it’s only a matter of time.”

Cotter thinks the decision will get reversed.

The Tories are still insisting the Vancouver area will be served with a full suite of search and rescue services.

BC Federation of Labour Secretary-Treasurer Irene Lanzinger, who will speak at the vigil, says for the federal government to announce the closure on BC budget day is further proof that Ottawa has disdain for British Columbia.

“Every BC political party, every nautical group, everyone who understands the dangers in these waters has said do not close the Kitsilano Coast Guard Station – and the federal Conservative government and its BC MPs have completely disregarded all the evidence that this is a deadly mistake,” Lanzinger said.

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The conservative government cannot afford to keep this life saving station open but they can afford to give Shell almost a billion dollars of taxpayers money?


February 24, 2013 at 5:08 pm

The sea, even here in harbour is very dangerous with currants, winds etc. and response and expertise needs to be quick and thorough. People die all the time in boating accidents… (I can hear you saying “so what”…) Well in fact this is something that deserves thought…There are tugs that can turn on a dime that need to have access and scope. We have all sorts of rules out there to help boaters and rules re: accreditation and safety… Yet… What is all the tanker businesses taxes going towards? These tanker/port business needs to support the economy of which it is a part. We can’t afford Coast Guard? The Kindermorgen pipeline platform is showing that oil tanker insurance is inadequate to cover serious spills in port. So wouldn’t it be smart to make safety – front end prevention – a priority? . Or if you chose to be pedantic… we can loose $millions with safety or navigation hold ups. Coast Guard is ocean infrastructure – eyes on the ocean that can pool resources to respond to need. Vancouver is an extremely busy port, and this means with what I imagine $millions a day in commercial tanker business and kids learning to sail at Jericho and Kits beach… as well as expensive/valuable ocean tourism opportunities. I can see no reason to take this sort of decision seriously.

February 21, 2013 at 4:53 pm