(Black Press file image) (Black Press file image)

Feds and First Nations to collaborate on monitoring oil spills

“We value and need their knowledge and expertise to be successful”

Transport Minister Marc Garneau says efforts to protect Canada’s coastlines from vessel spills includes an “unprecedented level of collaboration” with Indigenous communities.

Garneau announced a pilot project under the $1.5-billion ocean protection plan to help Indigenous communities monitor vessel traffic while speaking to the Chamber of Shipping in Vancouver on Tuesday.

The project is being launched this fall in 10 communities including Haida and Gitga’at Nations on British Columbia’s north coast to test and develop new maritime awareness information systems in order to have a better understanding of the traffic around them.

“The second step, of course, is that the First Nations will be involved in the response because very often they’re the first ones there anyway and they have an intimate knowledge of the local waters,” he said.

Exact plans on how to improve emergency response, protect ecosystems and managing vessel traffic are being developed between government agencies and First Nations, he said.

“We value and need their knowledge and expertise to be successful,” Gauneau said.

Responding to questions about how the new Indigenous rights framework announced by the government in February should be approached by sectors working with both parties, Garneau told the shipping industry to be “open-minded.”

“It’s not just a question of respect, it’s a question of actually acting,” he said. “Some organizations will be involved more than others … but it really, literally, is a new way of thinking about how we achieve reconciliation in this country.”

Garneau said $1.2 million has also been awarded to Aqua-Guard Spill Response Inc. of North Vancouver for equipment to support the coast guard in spill clean-up.

The announcement comes days after thousands of people in B.C. protested the expansion of the Trans Mountain pipeline, which would increase tanker traffic to the Burrard Inlet.

The project must already adhere to 157 conditions put forward by the National Energy Board, Garneau said, and the oceans protections plan will also contribute to increased marine safety.

Garneau said the pipeline expansion has been approved by the federal government, and while it doesn’t have unanimous public support, most Canadians want to see it built.

“We think the majority of British Columbians are in agreement with us,” he said.

The Canadian Press

Just Posted

Capitol Theatre in Port Alberni hopes to ‘raise the reds’

Lily Diotte of Swale Rock Cafe is fundraising to replace the theatre’s red curtains

Alberni’s development soccer program doubles in size

Development practice had hardly started, but there were already more than 30… Continue reading

Catalyst Paper to sell U.S. mills to Chinese company

Sale will allow company to focus on B.C. interests, says president Ned Dwyer

Alberni university zeroes in on disability and poverty

BY MIKE YOUDS SPECIAL TO THE NEWS The road to poverty can… Continue reading

Celebrate cycling in Port Alberni during Bike to Work and School Week

Numerous ‘celebration stations’ are planned for May 28 to June 2

Trans Mountain pipeline: How we got here

A look at the Kinder Morgan expansion, decades in the making

B.C.’s devastating 2017 wildfire season revisited in new book

British Columbia Burning written by CBC journalist Bethany Lindsay

B.C. RCMP swoop in to save injured eagle

An eagle with a broken wing now in a recovery facility after RCMP rescue near Bella Coola

Bug spray 101: Health Canada wants you to stay bite free

Health Canada is reminding Canadians to use bug spray and other insect repellents safely

Unions reject CP Rail contract offers

Both meeting Friday to determine next steps; 72 hours notice required before strike action.

B.C. jewellers warn public about fake gold scam

‘They are playing on people’s sympathy and their greed’

Former B.C. premier says pot industry about to enter Wild West

Mike Harcourt says Canada is about to enter a new gold rush with many dreaming of striking it rich

Hunt continues for two suspects in Ontario restaurant explosion

The explosion left 15 people injured, but all victims have now been released from hospital

B.C. teacher charged with sexual offences involving two teens

Henry Kang, 50, of Abbotsford charged with two counts each sex assault and sexual exploitation

Most Read