British Columbia

Union fights Kitsilano coast guard station closure

The union representing workers at the Kitsilano coast guard station says it's launching a campaign to pressure the federal government into keeping the facility open.
The coast guard plans to close the Kitsilano lifeboat station. (CBC)

The union representing workers at the Kitsilano coast guard station says it's launching a campaign to pressure the federal government  to keep the facility open.

Last week Ottawa announced the coast guard station at Kitsilano Point in Vancouver's harbour would close, as part of nationwide cuts to the coast guard by the Department of Fisheries and Oceans.

DFO says once the Kitsilano station closes rescue response will come from the Sea Island coast guard station 17 nautical miles away in Richmond where the hovercraft is stationed.

But the Union of Canadian Transportation Employees says it plans to fight back with a public campaign to convince the federal government to reverse the decision to close what it calls Canada's busiest search and rescue station, in Canada's busiest port.

Union members say they will release numbers on Tuesday of how many lives were saved over the long weekend, and over the past year, by the station.

Vancouver Mayor Gregor Robertson spoke out against the closure, saying there was no consultation with the city about the impact it might have on emergency responders.

The federal government also plans to reduce the number of marine communications centres on the West Coast from five to two, as part of the reorganization.