Canadian gov’t closes Kitsilano Coast Guard station
VANCOUVE, British Columbia – Local government officials of all stripes were
crying foul yesterday following what’s been described as an “abrupt”
closure of the local Kitsilano coast guard station.
"They wanted to bury [the decision]," Vancouver
city Coun. Kerry Jang told the Vancouver Sun. "It's budget day. It's
disgusting. It was a total surprise to us, in one of the most dangerous times
of the year [for boaters] … They’re playing Russian roulette with lives.”
As an indication of just what a surprise it was, the coast guard station held a field exercise with the local police and fire departments
on Monday and neither agency had any idea the station would be closed before
the end of the week.
The government broke the news of the station’s closure by
phone to the Union of Canadian Transportation Employees on Tuesday.
The coast guard station responds to roughly 300 calls a year
on the water.
Ironically, it was the joint field exercise on Monday that
cemented the call to close the station.
Here’s how the Sun summarized it:
“Gary Sidock, the coast guard's acting assistant
commissioner for the Western region, said he made the decision to shut the
Kitsilano station after he was satisfied new plans to safely patrol Vancouver
Harbour were in place.
"Sidock said he made the decision after observing a major
exercise in the harbour Monday that included participation by the marine
branches of the Vancouver police department, Vancouver fire department, and
Port Metro Vancouver. He said he recommended the closure ‘because we could do
so with no increased risk to the public and the station was closed today.’ ”