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HomeNewsIsland & CoastCourtenay-Alberni MP seeking protection of Vancouver Island waters from shipbreaking

Courtenay-Alberni MP seeking protection of Vancouver Island waters from shipbreaking

Courtenay-Alberni NDP MP Gord Johns is asking for the federal government to protect coastline off Union Bay, where a shipbreaking operation is ongoing.

Johns spoke in parliament today, saying the operation could put around 500 jobs in shellfish in jeopardy along with its sensitive ecosystem and economy.

“Local First Nations, governments and residents are asking the Liberals to stop extending the permit for the Miller Freeman [a boat] to be allowed to sit above the high tide zone,” said Johns.

Fisheries, oceans and Canadian Coast Guard parliamentary secretary Mike Kelloway says the Coast Guard is “aware of an incident involving abandoned vessels in Union Bay”, and they are working with the B.C. government and is “ready to assist with the situation as required.”

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“Furthermore, the Canadian Coast Guard has reminded the parties involved of their obligations under the Canada shipping act,” said Kelloway. “We will continue to monitor the situation and will be ready to assist local officials if required.”

A rally will be held in the area on Sunday, organized by Concerned Citizens of Banes Sound. It will be held at 11 a.m. starting in a park at Spence and Glover roads before marching to the rally site on Highway 19A.

Union Bay resident Kathy Calder says she lives close to the Deep Water Recovery operation, and it is a very unfortunate situation.

“We don’t want this to happen to anybody else, or another community because it has been heartbreaking,” said Calder.

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She says they would like to see an operation like this be carried out in a deep port, rather than along the coastline of Union Bay. She adds the area was originally used as a log sort before being purchased and used for shipbreaking.

They are hoping local and provincial officials will also come out for the rally.

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