(Black Press file image) (Black Press file image)

Feds and First Nations to collaborate on monitoring oil spills

“We value and need their knowledge and expertise to be successful”

Transport Minister Marc Garneau says efforts to protect Canada’s coastlines from vessel spills includes an “unprecedented level of collaboration” with Indigenous communities.

Garneau announced a pilot project under the $1.5-billion ocean protection plan to help Indigenous communities monitor vessel traffic while speaking to the Chamber of Shipping in Vancouver on Tuesday.

The project is being launched this fall in 10 communities including Haida and Gitga’at Nations on British Columbia’s north coast to test and develop new maritime awareness information systems in order to have a better understanding of the traffic around them.

“The second step, of course, is that the First Nations will be involved in the response because very often they’re the first ones there anyway and they have an intimate knowledge of the local waters,” he said.

Exact plans on how to improve emergency response, protect ecosystems and managing vessel traffic are being developed between government agencies and First Nations, he said.

“We value and need their knowledge and expertise to be successful,” Gauneau said.

Responding to questions about how the new Indigenous rights framework announced by the government in February should be approached by sectors working with both parties, Garneau told the shipping industry to be “open-minded.”

“It’s not just a question of respect, it’s a question of actually acting,” he said. “Some organizations will be involved more than others … but it really, literally, is a new way of thinking about how we achieve reconciliation in this country.”

Garneau said $1.2 million has also been awarded to Aqua-Guard Spill Response Inc. of North Vancouver for equipment to support the coast guard in spill clean-up.

The announcement comes days after thousands of people in B.C. protested the expansion of the Trans Mountain pipeline, which would increase tanker traffic to the Burrard Inlet.

The project must already adhere to 157 conditions put forward by the National Energy Board, Garneau said, and the oceans protections plan will also contribute to increased marine safety.

Garneau said the pipeline expansion has been approved by the federal government, and while it doesn’t have unanimous public support, most Canadians want to see it built.

“We think the majority of British Columbians are in agreement with us,” he said.

The Canadian Press

Just Posted

Smoky skies in the Valley expected to clear by mid week

But smoke from wildfires could return at any time

RCMP looking for missing Duncan teen

Dallas Macleod, 18, was last seen on Aug. 10

‘Beauty amongst such tragedy:’ B.C. photographer captures nature’s trifecta

David Luggi’s photo from a beach in Fraser Lake shows Shovel Lake wildfire, Big Dipper and an aurora

Vancouver Island woman to attempt historic swim across Juan de Fuca Strait today

Ultra-marathon swimmer Susan Simmons to attempt to swim from Victoria to Port Angeles and back

Bear kills off-leash dog in B.C. park

There have been nearly 200 pet or livestock and bear encounters so far this year

Trudeau says he won’t apologize to heckler, pledges to call out ‘hate speech’

Prime Minister had accused woman of racism as she shouted about illegal immigration at Quebec rally

Documentary filmed in B.C. nominated in ‘Wildlife Oscars’’

Toad People is the only Canadian film to be nominated in this year’s Panda Wilderness Awards

B.C. man builds 10-foot sign thanking fire responders

Ken Rawson built his “thank u” sign on Saturday as helicopters responded to fires around the province.

PHOTOS: Olympian Patrick Chan helps B.C.’s ‘SuperChefs’ celebrate 10th anniversary

Former figure skater among those at event Friday in Surrey

Smaller B.C. bus service prepares to replace Greyhound

Kootenay-to-Okanagan run would require online reservations

Mother charged with homicide of Langley seven-year-old

Aaliyah Rosa’s 36-year-old mother charged with second degree murder: IHIT

Smoke from B.C. wildfires prompts air quality advisories across Western Canada

A massive cloud of smoke hangs over B.C. and Alberta due to wildfires

Most Read