The waters of Port Renfrew will be protected by a new multi-purpose marine facility co-managed by the Canadian Coast Guard and the Pacheedaht First Nation. (File photo)

New Coast Guard facility in the works for Port Renfrew

Multi-purpose centre will be co-managed by Pacheedaht First Nation to addresses TMX concerns

The federal government has signed a memorandum of understanding (MOU) with the Pacheedaht First Nation to build and co-manage a $22-million Coast Guard facility on the west coast of Vancouver Island.

The project is in response to the nation’s safety and environmental concerns over the Trans-Mountain Expansion Project (TMX).

The new Port Renfrew Multipurpose Marine Facility will provide search and rescue and environmental response services, and boost marine safety and response capacity in the Juan de Fuca Strait.

Completion in expected sometime in 2022.

READ MORE: Trans Mountain starts B.C. leg of pipeline twinning project

Bernadette Jordan, Canada’s Minister of Fisheries, Oceans and the Canadian Coast Guard announced the signing of the MOU June 29, praising the partnership for the prominent role played by the First Nation.

“We’re addressing concerns people have about building TMX safely and responsibly, but also in partnership — and that’s one of the key things,” Jordan said by telephone.

“The Pacheedaht First Nation saw a gap in our response capacity on the west coast of Vancouver Island, and so we’ve been working to co-develop this agreement within their territory.”

She added the new facility will also meet requests from the Coast Guard to expand their response capacity on the west coast.

What the co-management structure will look like is unclear at this time. Staffing numbers, vessel complement and other details are also unknown.

“How is going to be managed to who owns it; what’s going to be the development of it going forward? We’re going to work on a consensus basis with the First Nations community…” Jordan said.

Pacheedaht First Nation Chief Jeff Jones stated in a press release that construction of a marine safety centre in Pacheedaht territory has been a vision of the Nation for many years.

“It will help Pacheedaht exercise a greater role in protecting and managing the 112 kilometres of marine coastline, vast territorial waters and abundant resources. This MOU is a great step forward in building a government to government partnership between Pacheedaht First Nation and the Canadian Coast Guard.”

The MOU is the first achievement under the Co-Developing Community Response Initiative, a measure to help the government meet 156 conditions of the Trans Mountain pipeline twinning project. Key concerns among Indigenous communities along the marine route include increased risks associated with tanker traffic, as well as worries over the environment and impacts on cultural sites.

READ MORE: B.C. Indigenous leaders speak out after 150,000 litres of oil spill in Abbotsford

Despite the positive agreement with the Pacheedaht First Nation, the government-owned pipeline is mired in controversy and has faced numerous legal challenges from environmental and Indigenous groups. An oil spill at Trans Mountain’s Sumas Pump Station in Abbotsford last month prompted further backlash from Indigenous leaders across B.C. denouncing the project in favour of clean energy development.

Chief Dalton Silver of the Sumas First Nation noted the proposed pipeline expansion plans would run adjacent to the Lightning Rock site – a cultural site and burial grounds significant to the Sema:th First Nation and Stό:lō Coast Salish Peoples.

Minister Jordan said she hopes the MOU with the Pacheedaht First Nation will show Canadians the government is listening to Indigenous concerns.

-with files from Ben Lypka and Canadian Press



quinn.bender@blackpress.ca

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

Comments are closed

Just Posted

Ucluelet dedicates off-leash dog park

“I think it’s great. Dogs need a space to run.”

Ucluelet artists launch pop-up art exhibition

Heyduck & Butler opened on July 1 and will run until August 31.

QUIZ: Put your knowledge of Canada to the test

How much do you know about our country?

Tofino and Tla-o-qui-aht First Nation release joint statement welcoming ‘respectful’ tourists

“We have adapted to the new landscape and are very eager to welcome you back.”

Province backs Hesquiaht First Nation hydro project with $4.1M

Ah’ta’apq Creek Hydropower Project would decrease First Nation’s dependence on diesel.

VIDEO: Musqueam Chief captures captivating footage of bald eagle catching meal

‘This is why we have chosen to live here since time immemorial,’ Chief Wayne Sparrow’s nephew says

Police ramp up efforts to get impaired drivers off B.C. roads this summer

July is dedicated to the Summer CounterAttack Impaired Driving Campaign

Migrant workers stage multi-city action for full status amid COVID-19 risks

‘COVID-19 has exacerbated an existing crisis’

Okanagan school drops ‘Rebels’ sports team name, citing links with U.S. Civil War

Name and formerly-used images “fly in the face” of the district’s human rights policy, says board chair

PHOTOS: B.C.’s top doc picks up personalized Fluevog shoes, tours mural exhibition

Murals of Gratitude exhibit includes at least one portrait of Henry alongside paintings of health-care workers

In troubled times: Independence Day in a land of confusion

Buffeted by invisible forces and just plain worn out, the United States of America celebrates its 244th birthday

Stop enforcing sex work laws during COVID-19, advocates say

There are provisions in Canada’s prostitution laws that make workers immune from prosecution, but not from arrest

Liberal party finished 2019 having spent $43 million, raised $42 million

All political parties had until midnight June 30 to submit their financial reports for last year

B.C. teacher loses licence after sexual relationships with two recently-graduated students

The teacher won’t be allowed to apply for a teaching certificate until 2035

Most Read