In a mandate letter to the Department of Fisheries and Oceans, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has stated the Coast Guard base in Kitsilano will re-open.
The Conservative government closed the base in 2013 and it’s been a source of controversy ever since.
In the letter addressed to DFO minister Hunter Tootoo, Trudeau states his government is committed to a higher level of openness and transparency and they’ll remained focused on the people it serves.
As well as reopening the Kitsilano Coast Guard base, Trudeau says his government will work with the Ministers of Transport, Natural Resources, and Environment and Climate Change to formalize the moratorium on crude oil tanker traffic on B.C.’s north coast.
Sockeye salmon stocks were also on the docket in the letter, saying the Liberals planned on restoring runs in the Fraser River.
Trudeau had promised in his platform that he would re-open the base as well as restore funding for Canada’s four heavy urban search and rescue teams. With the closure of the Kits Coast Guard base, the closest base to Vancouver was in Richmond.
As Minister, Trudeau told Tootoo he will be “held accountable for our commitment to bring a different style of leadership to government,” including meaningful engagement with opposition parties.
Mayor Gregor Robertson release the following statement in response to Trudeau’s ministerial letter:
“Today’s direction by the Prime Minister of Canada to re-open the Kitsilano Coast Guard Base in Vancouver is great news for our city, and the safety of our harbour and local waters. I spoke with the Prime Minister two weeks ago about how this decision was one of the City of Vancouver’s top priorities for the new federal government, and it is very encouraging to see this commitment being enacted.
Responding to over 300 calls each year with robust search and rescue services, the Kitsilano Coast Guard Base had been one of the most important public safety resources for Vancouver and our harbour, which ranks among the busiest in North America. A broad consensus of marine safety experts had consistently expressed grave concerns about the dangers posed by its closure. This direction by the Prime Minister shows that the new federal government takes Vancouver’s voices very seriously and is committed to enhancing safety in our local waters.”
Trudeau does not state a timeline in the letter for the re-opening of the base. NDP Department of Fisheries and Oceans critic Fin Donnelly told Vancity Buzz in an email it needs to open as soon as possible.
“Every day the station remains closed, response times are delayed,” he said.
“It’s unclear when exactly the Kitsilano Coast Guard Station will re-open.”
Vancity Buzz has reached out to the Department of Fisheries and Oceans for a comment.
To read the full mandate letter, click here.