Western Canada Marine Response Corporation has a 25-year-lease agreement with the Nanaimo Port Authority. (File photo)

Construction on Nanaimo spill response base slated to begin in the spring

Western Canada Marine Response Corporation not expecting additional delays

As the Trans Mountain pipeline project inches closer, so does a proposed oil spill response base in Nanaimo.

Western Canada Marine Response Corporation, the organization tasked with cleaning oil spills along British Columbia’s coast, is moving forward with plans to build a $10-million, 7,430-square-metre oil spill response base on waterfront property leased from the Port of Nanaimo. Once completed, 15 different vessels and 34 employees will be stationed at the Nanaimo base, which will also serve as a training centre and hub for WCMRC’s Vancouver Island operations.

WCMRC is also planning spill response bases in Sidney, Port Alberni, Ucluelet and Beecher Bay as part of a $150-million spill response enhancement program that has been mandated by the National Energy Board as part of the Trans Mountain pipeline expansion approval.

Michael Lowry, communication manager with WCMRC, said construction should begin on the Nanaimo base sometime between April and June of next year.

“Our aim is to start construction in the second quarter of 2020,” he said, adding that the goal is to have base fully operational by the fall of 2021.

RELATED: Nanaimo could be home to new oil spill response station

RELATED: Nanaimo could become oil spill response hub

WCMRC has obtained all the necessary approvals to move forward with the project, according to Lowry. He said because the base will be on federally owned Port of Nanaimo property, WCMRC doesn’t need to obtain building permits or re-zoning from the City of Nanaimo.

“We have approvals to move ahead with construction so there is no more regulatory pieces that we have to go through,” Lowry said. “Really, now it is just a matter of getting the tenders in place and securing the contractor.”

Lowry said his company has already hired management staff for the Nanaimo base and will hire more when appropriate.

“We’ve started our hiring plan and we will be continuing to do the hiring through 2020 and 2021…” he said. “The plan is to hire more staff as more vessels come online.”

Only two of the 15 vessels planned for the Nanaimo base have been delivered to WCMRC according to Lowry.

RELATED: Company planning to build oil spill response base announces 25-year lease with Port of Nanaimo

RELATED: Work could start this spring on oil-spill-response dock in Nanaimo

WCMRC had planned to have the Nanaimo base fully operational by September, but plans were put on hold after Kinder Morgan decided to suspend all non-essential spending related to the Trans Mountain pipeline. The federal government has since purchased pipeline for $4.5 billion, with construction beginning earlier this month in Alberta.

There are still pending legal challenges and court decisions that could impact the pipeline’s future. Lowry said his company isn’t anticipating any further delays but knows they could happen at any time.

“Delays are well outside of our control and I wouldn’t have any insight on what they would look like,” he said. “Certainly, Trans Mountain has already begun construction and we have begun our work as well and we will be proceeding unless we are ordered not to proceed.”

RELATED: Proposed oil spill response base in Nanaimo postponed

RELATED: Nanaimo oil spill response station back on track

RELATED: Spill response vessels unloaded in Nanaimo







nicholas.pescod@nanaimobulletin.com 
Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter and Instagram

 

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

Just Posted

Port Alberni athletes put on fitness ‘FUNdraiser’ for frontline workers

Outdoor boot camp will be limited to 50, with donations helping frontline workers’ mental health

Bamfield residents, visitors pressure province as anniversary of fatal crash approaches

Letter-writing campaign makes ‘heartfelt, emotional pleas’ to improve road conditions

Airforce search and rescue helicopter drops in at Cameron Lake for training

Distinctive yellow CH-149 Cormorant turns heads after using Island lake for impromptu hoist

QUINN’S QUIPS: What makes a building historically significant?

There’s a difference between heritage designation and a heritage register

Nominate a hero for BC Autism Awards

Quality Foods sponsoring the third annual awards

‘Don’t kill my mom’: Ryan Reynolds calls on young British Columbians to be COVID-smart

‘Deadpool’ celebrity responds to premier’s call for social influence support

Expected fall peak of COVID-19 in Canada could overwhelm health systems: Tam

National modelling projections released Friday show an expected peak in cases this fall

Hundreds of sea lions to be killed on Columbia River in effort to save endangered fish

Nearly 22,000 comments received during public review were opposed, fewer than 200 were for

Devil’s Hand Poker Run in Campbell River to face RCMP scrutiny

The Campbell River RCMP will be keeping a close eye on the… Continue reading

B.C.’s fuel suppliers to publish prices to provide accountability: minister

Bruce Ralston says move will ensure industry publicly accountable for unexplained prices increases

Roots and Blues online festival live tonight on Black Press Media

Tune in to Black Press Media to watch the festival live Aug. 14, 15 and 16

Man suffers serious injuries in bear attack in remote area near Lillooet

It was deemed a defensive attack, no efforts were made to locate the animal

Missed rent payments because of COVID-19? You have until July 2021 to pay up

Each monthly instalment must be paid on the same date the rent is due

U.S.-Canada pandemic border restrictions extended into September

‘We will continue to keep our communities safe,’ says Public Safety Minister Bill Blair

Most Read