U.S. tugboat Nathan E. Stewart sits on the bottom off Bella Bella Oct. 28

VIDEO: Clark has ‘no complaints’ on marine safety plan

Coast Guard to lease two heavy tugs, add equipment for Atlantic and Pacific marine safety and spill response



Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s upgrade to marine spill response includes “Indigenous Community Response Teams” and improved towing capacity for Canadian Coast Guard vessels, but falls well short of the three heavy salvage tugboats the B.C. government was asking for.

After an announced federal plan that seemed considerably less than what B.C. officials had requested of Ottawa, Premier Christy Clark said Monday she is pleased with the progress after years of requests for more resources.

A briefing from federal officials left her confident that “the bulk of the benefits” will go to the Pacific coast, including one of the new heavy rescue tugs and towing upgrades to four Coast Guard vessels, she said.

“I have to say I have no cause for complaint with what we’ve seen today,” Clark told reporters.

Funded with $1.5 billion over three years, the plan announced by Trudeau in Vancouver Monday also includes upgrades on the Atlantic coast and the Arctic. It proposed to lease two new large vessels capable of towing commercial vessels and large container ships, but it was not immediately clear whether either of those would be stationed on the B.C. coast.

Trudeau acknowledged repeatedly that the improvements to shipping safety and emergency response are overdue.

“Canada has the longest coastline in the world, and it’s a poorly kept secret that we haven’t done enough to protect it,” Trudeau said after touring Vancouver Harbour aboard a Coast Guard vessel.

The plan refers to adding towing equipment to existing Coast Guard ships, improving marine traffic monitoring with new radar sites and placing additional emergency and enforcement officers on the Pacific and Atlantic coasts.

RELATED: B.C. has been ‘cheated’ on marine safety: Christy Clark

The B.C. government had been seeking three new heavy rescue tugboats for the West Coast, and upgrading of the Prince Rupert Coast Guard station. The province’s proposal was based on a three-hour window to respond when vessels lose power or are grounded, to prevent most spills of fuel or cargo even in the worst weather conditions.

Trudeau said the response to the sinking of a U.S. tugboat Nathan E. Stewart, pushing a barge south from Alaska, was “unacceptable” and the new plan is the biggest investment in Canadian history for marine environmental protection.

 

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Vernon tennis player named Best of BC winner

Sport BC honours Vasek Pospisil for his comeback season after back surgery

Vernon golf course sinks construction on new clubhouse

Owners at The Rise are in a dispute with City of Vernon over tax assessment

Coaches take on players to honour Vernon volleyball player

Vernon Sky Club hosting event with proceeds to the Emily Dahl Foundation

‘Die!’: Vernon councillor mailed death threat

This story contains information that might be sensitive to some readers

Racist incidents on the rise in the Okanagan as coronavirus spreads

UBCO professor not surprised by recent incidents

Protecting privacy key to stopping spread of COVID-19, B.C. health officials say

The number of coronavirus cases in B.C. remains at seven

Toffoli scores OT winner as Canucks beat Habs 4-3

Demko makes 37 saves for Vancouver

Kelowna man charged after naked driver leads RCMP on hit-and-run spree

A Kelowna man has been charged with numerous offences

Private clinics would harm ‘ordinary’ people using public system in B.C.: lawyer

Health Minister Adrian Dix announced in 2018 that the government would begin to fine doctors $10,000

B.C. terminates contract with hospice society refusing assisted death

Delta Hospice Society loses hospital service fund of $1.5 million

Hidden message connects Castlegar homeowners decades apart

The Rodgers family was surprised when a message fell out of the walls as they were renovating

Two B.C. men plead guilty to bus-terminal assault of man with autism in Ontario

Parmvir Chahil and Jaspaul Uppal due to be sentenced in June for aggravated assault

Most Read