Feds, First Nation sign deal for new marine response centre on Vancouver Island
VICTORIA -- A Vancouver Island First Nation has signed a deal with Ottawa to build a new multipurpose marine facility as part of the Trans Mountain pipeline expansion.
The Canadian Coast Guard announced Monday the signing of a memorandum of understanding with the Pacheedaht First Nation to construct a new marine search and rescue and environmental response centre in Port Renfrew.
The new multipurpose marine facility has "been a vision of the Nation for many years," said Pacheedaht Chief Jeff Jones in a statement.
"It will help Pacheedaht exercise a greater role in protecting and managing the 112 kilometres of marine coastline, vast territorial waters and abundant resources," Jones added. "This MOU is a great step forward in building a government to government partnership between Pacheedaht First Nation and the Canadian Coast Guard.”
The new marine centre is planned as part of the federal government's Co-Developing Community Response initiative with Indigenous groups to manage natural resource projects like the Trans Mountain pipeline expansion.
The new centre will also strengthen marine safety in the Juan de Fuca Strait, according to Fisheries and Oceans Canada.
"This memorandum of understanding is a clear example of that commitment, as it paves the way for a new marine facility that will be co-managed by the Canadian Coast Guard and the Pacheedaht Nation," said Bernadette Jordan, Minister of Fisheries, Oceans and the Canadian Coast Guard.
"Indigenous peoples have lived on the Pacific coast for centuries, and their knowledge of this environment is unparalleled. Working nation-to-nation with Pacheedaht First Nation, is not only the right thing to do, it is what is best for the land, the people of this region, and the country as a whole.”
The federal government says the marine response centre will reduce the risks of increased oil tanker traffic off Vancouver Island once the expanded Trans Mountain pipeline is complete.