Premier Christy Clark addressed the public for the first time since the Tofino tragedy.
She repeatedly thanked the community, Coast Guard, and Ahousaht First Nation for their efforts.
“When there were lives at risk, people stepped up and stepped in and saved lives.”
“It’s a terrible tragedy and I know that we’re all thinking about the people who were injured and their families, the families of those in particular who were lost, but I think we’re also feeling thankful for all the people here and how lucky we are to have communities like Tofino and the Ahousaht filled with people who want to make a difference, and did make this difference on the weekend.”
Clark says she will be nominating Tofino mayor Josie Osborne as well as the chief of the Ahousaht for the province’s newly established Citizenship Awards.
She adds it’s too early to talk about cause and blame behind the sinking of the Leviathan II.
The incident has brought renewed calls for mandatory lifejacket use on boats, but Clark says she’s not in favour of new legislation.
She says it’s a matter of preference.
“As a lifelong British Columbian growing up on the coast, I never get on a boat without a life jacket unless it’s a BC Ferry. Having almost lost my father and my sister to the ocean, that’s not a risk I ever want to take.”
Clark adds she’ll be engaged in talks about expanding cell phone service in Ahousaht, as well as bringing in a helicopter pad at Tofino’s hospital – the only Vancouver Island hospital without a heli-pad.