Western Canada Marine Response Corporation has a 25-year-lease agreement with the Nanaimo Port Authority. (File photo)

Construction on Nanaimo spill response base slated to begin in the spring

Western Canada Marine Response Corporation not expecting additional delays

As the Trans Mountain pipeline project inches closer, so does a proposed oil spill response base in Nanaimo.

Western Canada Marine Response Corporation, the organization tasked with cleaning oil spills along British Columbia’s coast, is moving forward with plans to build a $10-million, 7,430-square-metre oil spill response base on waterfront property leased from the Port of Nanaimo. Once completed, 15 different vessels and 34 employees will be stationed at the Nanaimo base, which will also serve as a training centre and hub for WCMRC’s Vancouver Island operations.

WCMRC is also planning spill response bases in Sidney, Port Alberni, Ucluelet and Beecher Bay as part of a $150-million spill response enhancement program that has been mandated by the National Energy Board as part of the Trans Mountain pipeline expansion approval.

Michael Lowry, communication manager with WCMRC, said construction should begin on the Nanaimo base sometime between April and June of next year.

“Our aim is to start construction in the second quarter of 2020,” he said, adding that the goal is to have base fully operational by the fall of 2021.

RELATED: Nanaimo could be home to new oil spill response station

RELATED: Nanaimo could become oil spill response hub

WCMRC has obtained all the necessary approvals to move forward with the project, according to Lowry. He said because the base will be on federally owned Port of Nanaimo property, WCMRC doesn’t need to obtain building permits or re-zoning from the City of Nanaimo.

“We have approvals to move ahead with construction so there is no more regulatory pieces that we have to go through,” Lowry said. “Really, now it is just a matter of getting the tenders in place and securing the contractor.”

Lowry said his company has already hired management staff for the Nanaimo base and will hire more when appropriate.

“We’ve started our hiring plan and we will be continuing to do the hiring through 2020 and 2021…” he said. “The plan is to hire more staff as more vessels come online.”

Only two of the 15 vessels planned for the Nanaimo base have been delivered to WCMRC according to Lowry.

RELATED: Company planning to build oil spill response base announces 25-year lease with Port of Nanaimo

RELATED: Work could start this spring on oil-spill-response dock in Nanaimo

WCMRC had planned to have the Nanaimo base fully operational by September, but plans were put on hold after Kinder Morgan decided to suspend all non-essential spending related to the Trans Mountain pipeline. The federal government has since purchased pipeline for $4.5 billion, with construction beginning earlier this month in Alberta.

There are still pending legal challenges and court decisions that could impact the pipeline’s future. Lowry said his company isn’t anticipating any further delays but knows they could happen at any time.

“Delays are well outside of our control and I wouldn’t have any insight on what they would look like,” he said. “Certainly, Trans Mountain has already begun construction and we have begun our work as well and we will be proceeding unless we are ordered not to proceed.”

RELATED: Proposed oil spill response base in Nanaimo postponed

RELATED: Nanaimo oil spill response station back on track

RELATED: Spill response vessels unloaded in Nanaimo







nicholas.pescod@nanaimobulletin.com 
Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter and Instagram

 

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Hundreds march against location of safe injection site

A Voice for Our Children opposes centre being near schools, recreation sites

Sarah Simpson Column: Creativity, and smoke, yields two new ‘computers’

My son opted to empty the recycling bin of all its boxes and create stuff.

Arts & Entertainment column: A new book, an art prize, and an AGM

Here are a few of the things happening in Cowichan’s arts and culture scene.

3 new deaths due to COVID-19 in B.C., 139 new cases

B.C. confirms 40 ‘historic cases,’ as well

Ferry riders say lower fares are what’s most needed to improve service

Provincial government announces findings of public engagement process

Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg dies at 87

The court’s second female justice, died Friday at her home in Washington

Comox Valley protesters send message over old-growth logging

Event in downtown Courtenay was part of wider event on Friday

Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

Emaciated grizzly found dead on central B.C. coast as low salmon count sparks concern

Grizzly was found on Gwa’sala-‘Nakwaxda’xw territory in Smith Inlet, 60K north of Port Hardy

VIDEO: B.C. to launch mouth-rinse COVID-19 test for kids

Test involves swishing and gargling saline in mouth and no deep-nasal swab

Young Canadians have curtailed vaping during pandemic, survey finds

The survey funded by Heart & Stroke also found the decrease in vaping frequency is most notable in British Columbia and Ontario

B.C. teachers file Labour Relations Board application over COVID-19 classroom concerns

The application comes as B.C.’s second week of the new school year comes to a close

Most Read