While some may think we're flogging a dead seahorse here, the JSCA is calling for a review of the decision to close the Kitsilano Coast Guard Station. With a Federal election on the horizon and MPs from both major opposition parties indicating they will reopen the station if elected, we'd like to invite local Federal Conservative MPs to join us in encouraging the new Minister of Fisheries and Oceans to take another look at the closure of Canada's busiest Coast Guard Station. Here is a brief review of what transpired in 2013:
Kitsilano Coast Guard Station 2013 Review
January 19, 2013-Citizens and political representatives from every level pack the Jericho Sailing Centre for a public meeting to express grave concern for the impending closure of the Kitsilano Coast Guard Station.
February 8-Prime Minister Stephen Harper visits Vancouver and claims that the closure is about moving resources away from back offices and onto the water where they are needed. (The Kits Station was staffed by 12 front line rescue personnel with NO office staff.)
February 7-11-Visitors to the Vancouver Boat Show send more than 3,000 JSCA generated form letters to Steven Harper objecting to the proposed closure.
February 19-Without even notifying the City or others in Vancouver's Marine Safety Network the station is closed.
February 20-The JSCA sends an appeal letter to PM Harper attempting to correct his misperception that the closure moved resources away from back offices.
March 25-The Prime Minister's office replies to JSCA's letter referring the matter to then Minister of Fisheries and Oceans, Keith Ashfield.
April 11-A container ship at anchor, dead centre in English Bay, within sight of the shuttered station makes a Priority 1 Marine Distress Call to the Canadian Coast Guard. Seven weeks earlier crew from Kits could have been on scene in 5 minutes. The hovercraft from Sea Island takes 30 minutes. The First Mate of the Osakana becomes the first related fatality. The following week, the seasonal station on Deadman Island is hastily opened 5 weeks earlier than anticipated.
May 7-The Minister of Fisheries and Oceans responds to JSCA's letter to the PM with the same form letter he had sent in reply to an earlier letter written directly to him.
May-JSCA generated form letters sent to Stephen Harper objecting to the closure surpass 5,000.
May 29-The Vancouver Sun reports that a Freedom of Information Request confirms that Canada's busiest Coast Guard Station was closed without any report or stand alone risk analysis supporting the closure.
July 15-Stephen Harper appoints Gail Shea as the new Minister of Fisheries and Oceans.
August-JSCA generated form letters sent to Stephen Harper objecting to the closure surpass 6,000.
November 2013 - NDP Fisheries Critic Fin Donnelly questions the Fisheries Commissioner in Parliamentary Committee about the budget effect of dramatically increased hovercraft operation in Vancouver Harbour due to the closure. Less than 10 months after the closure the Commissioner insisted that the net savings still stand at $700,000 a year.
More info in the next edition of "in the wind"