(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

LISTEN: Retired Fort Langley broadcaster gives voice to local history

Heritage buff Mark Forsythe introduces Valley Voices, a podcast featuring Fraser Valley’s history.

Langley trucker survives walking into the Dragon’s Den

A local man came away with an offer from one of the show hosts but others are also now interested.

WHAT’S IN STORE: Eco-friendly Walnut Grove students vie for technology prize

In this week’s business column, there’s a lot of talk about booze and food.

Langley-based rabbit rescue pleads for foster homes

The Aldergrove-centred Small Animal Rescue Society needs foster families to take new bunnies.

LETTER: Trees need protecting now – not 2019

Michelle Connerty fears delaying a Langley-wide tree protection bylaw causes irreversible damage.

Vancouver Aquarium’s resident octopus released into ocean

Staff let the Giant Pacific octopus go into the waters near Bowen Island so she can reproduce

Where Canadians buy real estate abroad: report

Hot Spots: Top 30 home-buying destinations for Canadians in the Americas

Ban on grizzly bear hunt, new rules take effect April 1

Taxidermists, tanners will have to report on any grizzly bears or parts brought to them

Ontario father grief stricken over murder of ex-wife and children

‘No words to explain,’ grieving father of slain teens says in statement

Russian Embassy calls Trudeau’s criticism of Putin unproductive

The Russian Embassy is firing back at Trudeau for criticizing President Vladimir Putin

Murder charge upgraded for man accused in Toronto gay village death

Man accused the death of a woman in the Toronto gay village had charge upgraded after new evidence

Former NHL player Theo Fleury visits B.C. First Nations community

Abuse survivor Theo Fleury has been working with communities focusing on healing since 2009 and visited Esketemc First Nation in the Cariboo this week.

City to lobby province after councillor accused of crime refused to resign

Dave Murray was sentenced to nine months for a sexual assault that occurred 26 years ago

Harsher fines, new off-road vehicle rules in effect to combat B.C. wildfires

Anyone who starts a wildfire could be ordered to pay up to $1,000,000

Most Read