A round-table meeting Friday in Nanaimo centred on the impacts of commercial anchorages in the Strait of Georgia. GREG SAKAKI/News Bulletin file photo

Freighters overstaying their welcome in the strait, say Vancouver Island MPs

Round-table meeting held Friday in Nanaimo to discuss impacts of commercial anchorages

As the federal government reviews anchorages and the freighters continue to linger in the Strait of Georgia, voices in the region want their concerns heard.

NDP members of Parliament Sheila Malcolmson and Alistair MacGregor hosted a round-table meeting Friday in Nanaimo to talk about the impacts of commercial anchorages in the strait.

According to Malcolmson, 21 organizations were represented at the round-table at the Coast Bastion Hotel as well as four local governments and four First Nations.

The Nanaimo Ladysmith MP said risks are increasing as freighters extend their stays, and said there have been “near-misses” as far as accidents and spills.

“All downside, no upside for Coastal communities,” she said.

MacGregor, MP for Cowichan-Malahat-Langford, drew a similar conclusion, pointing to noise and light pollution and unknowns when it comes to runoff.

“There are no economic benefits coming to our local communities from these freighters overstaying their welcome, and we also have to look at this issue through local environment lens, First Nations territorial waters, their rights to fishing and harvesting,” MacGregor said. “These are all being impacted by these freighters.”

Chris Straw, president of the Gabriolans Against Freighter Anchorages, said a ship sitting at anchor for 30, 40, sometimes 50 days doesn’t benefit the Canadian economy.

“It’s a drain. There is an inefficiency to the Vancouver port supply chain right now and it’s going to take a lot of will and a lot of efforts from the people in this room and far beyond that to get to some real solutions,” he said.

Straw said there have been dramatic increases in the number of freighters and length of stays, which he said “doesn’t really correspond” with cargo volumes.

“I think it’s in everybody’s interest that they get in, they load and they leave. That’s how the system should work,” he said. “So I think the solution is not so much, ‘If not in the Gulf Islands, where?’ but the solution is ‘What’s causing an industry to have such a spillover effect on communities?’”

Peter Luckham, chairman of the Islands Trust, said the trust has asked the federal government to take “all the measures possible” to reduce and ultimately eliminate the use of the 33 commercial freighter anchorage sites throughout the southern Gulf Islands region. He called the current situation unacceptable.

“The upland properties all throughout the Gulf Islands are zoned rural residential and this industrial activity is not compatible with the upland uses,” Luckham said.

In an e-mail to the News Bulletin earlier this year, Transport Canada noted that the Oceans Protection Plan national anchorages review would determine a set of standards for the selection and use of existing or new anchorage locations.

Malcolmson and MacGregor suggested that Friday’s round-table would help them make a better case for their region on the subject.

“We’re going to speak with authenticity and authority,” MacGregor said.

RELATED: Gabriola Islanders continue to fight against anchorages

-files from Karl Yu/The News Bulletin



editor@nanaimobulletin.com

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

Just Posted

Island pickleball players perfectly prepared

Top-notch action at Fuller Lake Park in singles, doubles and mixed doubles

Dormant Chemainus Foods building soon to be revived

Market expected to bring new life to the downtown core

Ladysmith Arts Council leads effort to establish Vancouver Island as an arts powerhouse

Terry O’Reilly will be the keynote speaker during an interactive live webcast on August 8 at 6pm

Oyster Bay Microtel solidifies reputation as a Vancouver Island destination

The Microtel is focused on continuing to build their reputation over the summer

Charity the name of the game for Crofton slo-pitch tournament participants

Crofton Fire Department event benefits three recipients

VIDEO: B.C. MLA Michelle Stilwell takes first steps in nearly 30 years

‘It actually felt like walking. It’s been 27 years… but it felt realistic to me’

Dog recovering after being drenched in hot coffee, B.C. man charged

Man was taken into custody, charged, and released pending a court date

Taekwondo instructor, 21, identified as B.C. bat rabies victim

Nick Major, 21, an instructor at Cascadia Martial Arts in Parksville

Science expedition to Canada’s largest underwater volcano departs Vancouver Island

Crews prepared for a two-week research mission to the Explorer Seamount

B.C. shipyard to get one-third of $1.5 billion frigate-repair contract

The federal government has promised to invest $7.5 billion to maintain the 12 frigates

Anglican Church to review governance structure after same-sex marriage change fails

Some say the current system to change doctrine gives too much voting power to a smaller class of bishops

B.C. adding fast-charge stations for electric highway trips

Okanagan, Vancouver Island, Kootenay stations ready for use

15-year-old with imitation gun caused ‘dynamic’ scene at Nanaimo mall

No one was harmed in Monday’s incident, say Nanaimo RCMP

Worried about bats? Here’s what to do if you come across one in B.C.

Bat expert with the BC Community Bat Program urges caution around the small creatures

Most Read