Prime Minister Stephen Harper confirmed today that his government would not be reversing its decision to shut down the Kitsilano Coast Guard Station.
The move to close the station has drawn criticism from Premier Christy Clark, Vancouver Mayor Gregor Roberton and local boaters, who all claim the closure will put lives at risk.
The government is replacing the year-round, 24-hour Kitsilano station with a three-person inshore rescue team based in Stanley Park during the summer months and increased service from a new hovercraft station at the Sea Island station in Richmond.
Harper was in Burnaby today for another announcement, but when asked about the coast guard closure, he said his government is focusing on putting more rescue boats in the water.
"That's where we put our emphasis, going forward. We've made investments here and in other parts of the country precisely in that way to try and move things away from offices and back offices and actually have resources on the ground and in the water and that's what we're doing, and that's what we think is best for public safety," he said.
The Kitsilano station is set to close this spring. The new inshore rescue service will use a rigid-hulled inflatable boat.
The Royal Canadian Marine Search and Rescue (RCM-SAR), which is staffed by volunteers, has also relocated one of its rescue units from Indian Arm to a central location within the Vancouver Harbour.