VICTORIA -- Massive construction projects to safeguard B.C.’s coast against a marine oil spill are coming to Vancouver Island next year.

Western Canada Marine Response Corporation, the organizaiton tasked with cleaning up oil spills on the Pacific coast, says it will begin work on land-based faciliites in Nanaimo and Port Alberni in 2020.

The company will also construct operation centres in Ucluelet, Sidney, Beecher Bay and Victoria. Mainland operations will be focused out of Vancouver and the Fraser River area. 


According to Western Canada Marine Response, Nanaimo’s base of operations should be the first to break ground in the second quarter of 2020. Two of the 15 vessels which will be stationed in Naniamo have already arrived. 

The $ 10-million, 8,000-square-foot facility will be built on Port of Nanaimo land near downtown. Approximately 34 people will be employed at the base and it will also function as a training centre for marine response crews. 

All of the bases are part of a $150-million investment in marine safety following the Canadian government's decision to green light the Trans Mountain pipeline expansion project. 

Marine response officials say all of the land lease deals have been finalized except for Beecher Bay. It’s expected a deal will be cut there shortly. 

The company has faced setbacks as the pipeline has undergone several waves of pushback by government, First Nations and environmental groups. 

“Certainly, there have been a number of stops and starts with the project, which can be challenging,” said Western Canada Marine Response spokesperson Michael Lowry. “But we are required to have these enhancements in place before the pipeline goes into operation and we are focused on that objective.”

All of the bases on the Lower Mainland and Vancouver Island are expected to be complete and operational by the fall of 2020. 

Command centres in Vancouver, Victoria and Sidney will be staffed 24 hours a day.