Vancouver’s shuttered Kitsilano Coast Guard base is once again operational.
The move fulfills a campaign promise by the Trudeau Liberals, reversing one of the former Conservative government’s most controversial decisions in the region.
Earlier today, Coast Guard Assistant Commissioner Roger Girouard sent an email to CCG officers and crew delivering the news.
“This marks an important milestone – as well as an essential investment in improving marine safety on Canada’s west coast.”
Girouard says the once-shuttered station has been renovated and re-equipped.
It is also now home to three vessels, the CCGS Moorhen, the CCGS Kitsilano 1 (inflatable inshore rescue boat), and a pollution response vessel.
That last asset is particularly noteworthy, with some critics arguing its presence could have made a difference during last year’s English Bay oil spill.
Girouard says work is also ongoing on a plan for the station’s “enhanced marine response capacity.”
“It will have environmental response capacity, emergency response training, and an exercise program for partners, local First Nations, and coastal communities, as well as the establishment of a Regional Incident Command Post.”
The Coast Guard says it will have have response capacity “24/7,” however critics, including the Union, say that’s a mis-characterization, and that the crew will only be working eight hours a day, and be on-call the other 16.
Today’s reopening is considered a “soft launch.” A full launch is expected sometime in June.