Cowichan-Malahat-Langford incumbent Alistair MacGregor, left, Nanaimo-Ladysmith candidate Bob Chamberlin and retiring Skeena-Bulkley Valley MP Nathan Cullen hear from Gabriolans Against Freighter Anchorages Society president Chris Straw at a meeting Monday at Tea on the Quay in Nanaimo. (GREG SAKAKI/The News Bulletin)

Cowichan-Malahat-Langford incumbent Alistair MacGregor, left, Nanaimo-Ladysmith candidate Bob Chamberlin and retiring Skeena-Bulkley Valley MP Nathan Cullen hear from Gabriolans Against Freighter Anchorages Society president Chris Straw at a meeting Monday at Tea on the Quay in Nanaimo. (GREG SAKAKI/The News Bulletin)

Vancouver Island NDP candidates concerned about freighter anchorages

Alistair MacGregor and Bob Chamberlin joined by retiring MP Nathan Cullen for meeting

NDP candidates say there needs to be better management of freighter anchorages off the coast of Vancouver Island.

Cowichan-Malahat-Langford incumbent Alistair MacGregor and Nanaimo-Ladysmith candidate Bob Chamberlin were joined by retiring Skeena-Bulkley Valley MP Nathan Cullen at a meeting Monday in Nanaimo with members of the Gabriolans Against Freighter Anchorages Society.

MacGregor said the anchorages around the Gulf Islands were established in the 1970s without the “free, prior and informed consent” of First Nations and have now become an “overflow industrial parking lot” for port operations in Vancouver.

Members of GAFA said coal and grain freighters “loiter” for days and weeks at the more than 30 anchorage sites in the region; Transport Canada’s website says the average stay at the Gulf Islands anchorages is 8.6 days.

An anchorages initiative was announced in 2017 as part of the oceans protection plan announced by the federal Liberal government and Chris Straw, GAFA president, said the proposals have been mostly “voluntary guidelines.” His group says the freighters create emissions from idling, cause noise and light pollution, damage the ocean floor and are a security concern.

“It’s not a not-in-my-backyard-issue,” said Scott Colbourne, a Gabriola Island trustee on the Islands Trust. “It’s the fact that these are clear and present dangers to very fragile ecosystems upon which a lot of communities depend.”

RELATED: Gabriola Islanders continue to fight against anchorages

MacGregor worries that increased diluted bitumen exports out of the Burrard Inlet would make the problem worse.

“What do you think that’s going to do to existing shipping traffic?” he asked. “A lot of our grain-loading facilities are in the Burrard Inlet and every time an oil tanker has to navigate through those narrows, they have to stop all traffic and if you’re going to have a seven-fold increase in tanker traffic coming through there, well, look at how bad the problem is right now and imagine what that will do to it in the future.”

GAFA says the anchors are potentially disturbing a square kilometre of ocean floor at each site.

“If somebody had proposed a project where 36 square kilometres of seabed was about to be disturbed or destroyed, there would be assessments, there would be community consultations, there would be all of this and these guys slip into this loophole,” Cullen said.

Chamberlin said when the anchorages were identified and implemented, there were not the same fisheries regulations or the same level of concern about the marine environment generally. He criticized the government’s approach to handling the issue.

“Consultation is yesterday’s law. That just leads to uncertainty, tension and a path to the courts,” he said. “Whereas by working with First Nations on consent, there is predictability, there is certainty, there is reconciliation and new environmental standards.”

Chamberlin said since the New Democrats have official party status, his party would be able to work on the anchorage issue at the committee level and research and act on it. MacGregor said anchorages shouldn’t be a partisan issue, but said he and Chamberlin can talk about their record standing up for the coast and he said better management of anchorages will continue to be a fight that he leads.

RELATED: Conservatives talk environment and leadership on doorsteps in Nanaimo-Ladysmith

RELATED: Nanaimo-Ladysmith NDP candidate, First Nations leaders talk environmental protection

RELATED: Nanaimo-Ladysmith Greens rally around MP and party leader

The federal election is Oct. 21 and advance polls are Oct. 11-14.

Other candidates in Nanaimo-Ladysmith include James Chumsa, Communist Party; Jennifer Clarke, People’s Party of Canada; Michelle Corfield, Liberals; John Hirst, Conservatives; Paul Manly, Green Party; Brian Marlatt, Progressive Canadian Party; Geoff Stoneman, independent; Echo White, independent.

Other candidates in Cowichan-Malahat-Langford include Rhonda Chen, PPC; Alana DeLong, Conservatives; Blair Herbert, Liberals; Lydia Hwitsum, Greens; Robin Morton Stanbridge, Christian Heritage Party.

RELATED: One final candidate added to the ballot in Nanaimo-Ladysmith

RELATED: Nanaimo-Ladysmith candidates joust over access to healthcare and economic priorities

RELATED: NDP leader Jagmeet Singh focuses on housing during stop in Nanaimo

RELATED: Communist candidate on the ballot in Nanaimo-Ladysmith

RELATED: ‘Blue collar’ candidate running as an independent in Nanaimo-Ladysmith

RELATED: Nanaimo-Ladysmith candidates ‘disappointed’ with prime minister over blackface

RELATED: Nanaimo-Ladysmith candidates keep climate at forefront of first debate

RELATED: Nanaimo-Ladysmith candidates try to chart a path to victory

RELATED: Federal election campaign underway in Nanaimo-Ladysmith



editor@nanaimobulletin.com

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

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

Just Posted

Luke Marston works on the seawolf mask for Canucks goalie Braden Holtby. (Mike Wavrecan photo)
Stz’uminus artist Luke Marston designs new mask for Canucks goalie

The mask features artwork inspired by the Coast Salish legend of the sea wolf

Scott Saywell, Nanaimo Ladysmith Public Schools’ superintendent and CEO, has seen his contract renewed for four years, the district announced Wednesday. (SD68 YouTube screenshot)
Ladysmith school district renews superintendent’s contract for four years

‘Singing superintendent’ Scott Saywell under contract through 2024-25 school year

Emergency services were on scene at 1st Avenue and Warren Street after a skateboarder was struck by a vehicle. (Submitted photo)
Skateboarder ‘bumped’ by vehicle on 1st Avenue

Emergency services personnel say the skateboarder is uninjured

Parents Robin Ringer and Wyatt Gilmore with the No. 1 baby of 2021 in the Cowichan Valley. They have yet to decide on a name for her. (Photo by Don Bodger)
Chemainus couple excited about having the New Year’s baby for the Cowichan Valley

Recent arrivals from Fort Nelson celebrate their girl coming into the world on Jan. 7

Regional District of Nanaimo’s transit select committee is expected to vote on a recommendation that could see busing between Nanaimo and the Cowichan Valley. (News Bulletin file)
Regional District of Nanaimo staff recommending bus route to Cowichan Valley

More than 1,900 survey respondents expressed support for inter-regional transit, notes RDN report

Keith the curious kitten is seen on Nov. 4, 2020 at the Chilliwack SPCA. Friday, Jan. 22, 2021 is Answer Your Cat’s Questions Day. (Jenna Hauck/ Chilliwack Progress file)
Unofficial holidays: Here’s what people are celebrating for the week of Jan. 17 to 23

Answer Your Cat’s Questions Day, Pie Day and International Sweatpants Day are all coming up this week

JaHyung Lee, “Canada’s oldest senior” at 110 years old, received his first dose of the COVID-19 vaccine on Thursday, Jan. 14, 2021. He lives at Amenida Seniors Community in Newton. (Submitted photo: Amenida Seniors Community)
A unique-looking deer has been visiting a Nanoose Bay property with its mother. (Frieda Van der Ree photo)
A deer with 3 ears? Unique animal routinely visits B.C. property

Experts say interesting look may be result of an injury rather than an odd birth defect

Sooke’s Jim Bottomley is among a handful of futurists based in Canada. “I want to help people understand the future of humanity.” (Aaron Guillen - Sooke News Mirror)
No crystal ball: B.C. man reveals how he makes his living predicting the future

63-year-old has worked analytical magic for politicians, car brands, and cosmetic companies

Terry David Mulligan. (Submitted photo)
Podcast: Interview with longtime actor/broadcaster and B.C. resident Terry David Mulligan

Podcast: Talk includes TDM’s RCMP career, radio, TV, wine, Janis Joplin and much more

A still from surveillance footage showing a confrontation in the entranceway at Dolly’s Gym on Nicol Street on Friday morning. (Image submitted)
Troublemaker in Nanaimo fails at fraud attempt, slams door on business owner’s foot

VIDEO: Suspect causes pain and damage in incident downtown Friday morning

Seasonal influenza vaccine is administered starting each fall in B.C. and around the world. (Langley Advance Times)
After 30,000 tests, influenza virually nowhere to be found in B.C.

COVID-19 precautions have eliminated seasonal infection

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau listens to a question during a news conference outside Rideau cottage in Ottawa, Friday, January 8, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
Trudeau says Canada’s COVID vaccine plan on track despite Pfizer cutting back deliveries

Canadian officials say country will still likely receive four million doses by the end of March

Jobs Minister Ravi Kahlon shared a handwritten note his son received on Jan. 13, 2021. (Ravi Kahlon/Twitter)
Proud dad moment: B.C. minister’s son, 10, receives handwritten note for act of kindness

North Delta MLA took to Twitter to share a letter his son received from a new kid at school

Most Read