Three coast guard communications centres to close
One day after the news that the Kitsilano coast guard station in English Bay will shut down, the federal government announced that three coast guard communications centres in B.C. will also close by 2015.
The coast guard communications centres in Vancouver, Tofino, and Comox deal with calls from mariners in distress. Once they shut down, those emergencies will be handled by only the communications centres in Prince Rupert and Victoria.
Seven other communications centres across the country will also be closed down. Fisheries and Oceans Minister Keith Ashfield said in a written statement that the centres currently use outdated technology, and the remaining 12 centres across Canada will be modernized and their services will be consolidated.
Liberal interim leader Bob Rae called the closures of the communications centres, as well as the closure of the Kitsilano coast guard station, "very troubling."
"Presumably the coast guard office that they closed in Kitsilano was doing search-and-rescue work," he said on Friday. "There is a need for search and rescue capacity on the coast. [The government] better have a clear idea of telling us, if they're closing this, how they are going to make up for it."
However, Canadian Heritage Minister James Moore said the closures will not have any impact on public safety.
"Just because we're changing things doesn't mean things are jeopardized," he said. "Yes, there are some closures, but with new technologies coming online, new equipment coming online, and improvement of services, we don't think there are any reasons for the public to be concerned about the quality of service or with regard to public safety."
With files from CTV British Columbia's Scott Roberts