(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

VIDEO: Pacific Rim Whale Festival’s Chowder Chow Down winners announced in Ucluelet

The event serves as the largest annual fundraiser for the Food Bank on the Edge.

VIDEO: Ucluelet extinguishes Tofino at Spout Ball Challenge

The popular Pacific Rim Whale Festival event was a spectacular success for firefighters and fans.

WATCH: Annual art show opens at Black Rock Resort in Ucluelet

Visitors encouraged to vote for their favourite work of art from March 16-25.

Tla-o-qui-aht artist carving out conversation in Ucluelet

“When you’re creating together and making work together, those conversations really come naturally.”

VIDEO: Ucluelet’s Wild Pacific Trail welcomes new feature

“It’s special. It’s something that people don’t see.”

VIDEO: Ucluelet extinguishes Tofino at Spout Ball Challenge

The popular Pacific Rim Whale Festival event was a spectacular success for firefighters and fans.

How to keep local news visible in your Facebook feed

Facebook has changed the news feed to emphasize personal connections. You might see less news.

Spring snow melt uncovers dirty needles in B.C. city

Vernon residents are upset with number of needles being found around town with spring melt

US would host majority of games at 2026 World Cup

A decision on the winning bid will be made June 13 at the FIFA Congress in Mexico

Most people in B.C. too ‘lazy,’ ‘apathetic’ to prepare for disasters: poll

Less than half of those surveyed aren’t insured for earthquakes and wildfires

Chris Hemsworth goes surfing in Tofino

The Australian actor donned a full body wetsuit to catch some waves on Vancouver Island this weekend

B.C. hospitals receive boost for dental surgery

Disabled people needing general anesthetic wait too long, Adrian Dix says

BCHL Today: Wenatchee Wild on the ropes and Smoke Eaters reeling

BCHL Today is a (near) daily look at what’s going on around the league and the junior A world.

A frustrated Trump lashes out at special counsel Mueller

In a series of weekend tweets naming Mueller for the first time, Trump criticized the investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 presidential election

Most Read