Leaked Report Confirms Fears about Kits Coast Guard Closure
September 7th, 2012 - 12:00am
Donnelly calls on Ashfield to reverse proposed closure
VANCOUVER – In light of a report confirming concerns regarding the proposed Kitsilano Coast Guard Station closure, NDP MP Fin Donnelly (New Westminster-Coquitlam) is demanding Minister Ashfield reverse his reckless decision.
“The Conservatives’ decision to close the Kits Coast Guard station is irresponsible and will put lives at risk,” says Donnelly. “This decision must be reversed immediately.”
A report by the Joint Rescue Coordination Centre, obtained by CKNW, confirmed concerns that the closure would increase response times and put pressure on the neighbouring station, which “may lead to increased casualties”.
“Minister Ashfield should heed the warnings in this report,” said Donnelly. “The coastal areas and beaches around English Bay and Burrard Inlet are some of the busiest in the country, both for commercial and recreational purposes. Closing the Kits station will put workers, recreationalists and families at risk.”
Responding to pressure, Minister Ashfield visited Vancouver over the summer, holding an invite-only meeting regarding the proposed closure. Stakeholders emerged from the meeting saying their concerns were neither heard nor addressed.
“If the Conservatives won’t listen to British Columbians, maybe they’ll listen to the Canadian Coast Guard’s internal report,” said Donnelly. “The government should scrap its arrogant attitude, listen to British Columbians, and reverse this decision.”
The Kitsilano Coast Guard Station responds to over 300 emergencies a year. The proposed closure has been condemned by many, including Conservative backbencher James Lunney.