Mayor Robertson calls for Kitsilano Coast Guard Station to remain open after alarming City Staff report on risks and costs

September 18, 2012 | Safer Communities

City of Vancouver staff presented an alarming report to City Council this morning on the impact of the federal government’s decision to close Vancouver’s Kitsilano Coast Guard Station.

The report by Deputy City Manager Sadhu Johnson was in response to the Mayor’s motion in May to review the full range of safety and financial impacts, including increased service demands on City of Vancouver first responders, as a result of the Kitsilano Coast Guard station closure and any other Federal marine safety cutbacks.

The report reminded Council that the federal government has "Exclusive jurisdiction over navigation and shipping, per the Constitution Act, 1867" and confirmed many of the Mayor’s strongest concerns:

  • The Kits Coast Guard Base responds to 75-100 life-at-risk calls per year (responses to “distress” and “potential distress”), and an average total of 292 responses per year
  • Two thirds of life-at-risk calls occur during winter months when the new student service will not be operating.
  • Response times from the CCG Sea Island base to Vancouver’s Inner Harbour is a minimum of 30 minutes, and even longer if its responding vessel is not at base or in bad weather conditions
  • CCG Sea Island (which the federal government expects to respond to major incidents after the Kitsilano closure) currently responds to approximately 250 calls per year and already has a very large service area of its own (40-mile radius).
  • The "Kitsilano Coast Guard base closure creates a significant gap."
  • "The City does not have the resources nor is it the City’s mandate to fill this gap” and "Peoples’ safety will be at risk as a result."

This report also follows alarming conclusions last week from an internal report from within the Coast Guard itself.

The report from the Joint Rescue Coordination Centre stated that “the additional time to respond may lead to increased casualties” and admitted that it was “unknown” whether CCG Sea Island “can handle the additional workload.”

The Mayor believes that these facts and conclusions that should make it obvious to the federal government that it must decide to save lives by reversing its decision to shut down the Kitsilano Coast Guard station.

>> To read and share the full City of Vancouver report to Council today, please click here: http://bit.ly/kitsreport