Union for Kitsilano Coast Guard Station crew to hold all-party rally Saturday January 19 at 11 a.m. at Jericho Sailing Centre to oppose imminent closure planned by federal Conservative government as crew members get notice of transfer from Station
VANCOUVER – The union representing crew of the Kitsilano Coast Guard Station will hold a rally Saturday January 19 at 11 a.m. at the Jericho Sailing Centre to oppose federal Conservative government plans to close the Station imminently, after several crew members received notice of transfer.
Dave Clark, Union of Canadian Transportation Employees BC Regional Vice-President, says its clear that the federal Conservative government plans to close the Kitsilano Coast Guard Station much earlier than previously announced in an apparent attempt to reduce public protest at the unpopular move.
“Kitsilano Coast Guard Station staff are getting notice of transfer, veteran crew have already been moved to other locations and management consultants are being brought in to effect an early shutdown,” Clark said. “We will not let the Conservatives close this critical station in Canada’s busiest port without a huge fight.”
Clark said political leaders from all provincial parties, federal party MPs, municipal leaders and others will all be invited to attend and speak at the rally on January 19 in another effort to convince the Conservatives to reverse their dangerous decision.
“Lives will definitely be lost if the Kitsilano Coast Guard Station is closed because there will be at least a 35 minute or longer delay before either the Richmond Coast Guard hovercraft or volunteers being called off their jobs can respond to search and rescue emergencies in Vancouver’s harbour,” Clark said. “This isn’t about crew members’ jobs – it’s about the certainty of a reckless decision costing lives at sea.”
BC Federation of Labour President Jim Sinclair, who led a 24-hour occupation of the Kitsilano Coast Guard Station on September 14, says the federal government needs to realize just how big a mistake closure is.
“There isn’t a single organization in British Columbia that support closure of the Kitsilano Coast Guard Station – not one,” Sinclair said. “But recreational boaters, kayakers, sailors, fisherman, tugboat operators, charter boat owners – everyone who spends any time on our waters wants to keep this critical Station open.”