British Columbia

Kitsilano Coast Guard Station reopening with new boats

The Canadian Coast Guard has confirmed that when the Kitsilano Coast Guard Station reopens on Sunday it will have two inflatable rescue boats and a specialized pollution response vessel.

Osprey rescue boat that used to be based at the station has been decommissioned and won't be returning

A Canadian Coast Guard pollution response vessel will be stationed at the Kitsilano base when it reopens. (Canadian Coast Guard/Twitter)

The Canadian Coast Guard has confirmed that when the Kitsilano Coast Guard Station reopens on Sunday it will have two inflatable rescue boats and a specialized pollution response vessel.

The station, which is located near downtown Vancouver, was closed by the federal Conservatives in early 2013, a move that was criticized by many, including local city councillors.

The Liberals promised to reopen the base after winning the last election. After a cargo ship spilled several thousand litres of bunker fuel into English Bay, the government also promised to upgrade the base's pollution response capacity. 

Yesterday Canadian Coast Guard spokesman Dan Bate revealed what vessels will be stationed at the base. They include:

  • The CCGS Moorhen, a rigid hull inflatable with an enclosed cabin.
  • A Fast Rescue Craft, also a rigid hull inflatable, but with no cabin.
  • A pollution response vessel, designed to clean up oil spills and other marine pollution.
One of the boats to be stationed at the re-opened Kitsilano Coast Guard Station is rigid hull inflatable that was previously stationed in Stanley Park. (Canadian Coast Guard/Twitter)

The Moorhen is part of a 'phased-in' re-opening for the base, and may be replaced with another vessel later.

The Canadian Coast Guard's Moorhen, a rigid hull inflatable with a cabin, will be stationed at the Kitsilano station on an interim basis as part of a phased-in reopening.

The larger Osprey rescue boat that used to be based at the station has been decommissioned and won't be returning to the base, Bate confirmed.

Staffing underway

On Thursday the the head of the union representing coast guard employees confirmed the Fast Rescue Craft is the same rescue boat stationed at the nearby HMCS Discovery Navy Reserve base. That service was set up in Stanley Park after the Kitsilano base was closed in 2013.

"The Canadian Coast Guard have taken the first steps to move the vessel from Stanley Park. [That]  will happen next week with full services restored later this summer," said Christine Collins, National President of the Union of Canadian Transportation Employees in a statement issued to CBC News.

The CCGS Osprey which was stationed at the Kitsilano, was decommissioned in 2013 after the base was closed, and won't be returning to the reopened base. (Canadian Coast Guard)

The union also said that when the base does reopen this weekend, it won't be staffed with a full crew immediately.

"CCG is in the process of selecting the staff complement for the Kitsilano Station," said Collin's statement.

Collins said the union welcomes the reopening of the station.

"We are happy with the continued progress."

Despite having fewer employees the base will still be staffed 24 hours a day, seven days a week, union spokeswoman Lira Buschman confirmed.

The 2016 federal budget committed $23 million over five years to reopen the base.

The Canadian Coast Guard Station in Kitsilano is expected to reopen on May 1. (Canadian Coast Guard/Twitter)

Clarifications

  • A previous version of this story quoted the Union of Canadian Transportation Emloyees which said the Kitsilano base will initially reopen with one rigid hull inflatable boat. The Canadian Coast Guard confirms, however, the base will reopen with three different vessels.
    Apr 29, 2016 10:15 AM PT

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