Responding to the federal government's decision to press ahead with the Trans Mountain pipeline expansion Tuesday, Victoria Mayor Lisa Helps says the city will remain on the front lines in the fight against climate change.

Helps said Vancouver Island's fragile coastline is a defining feature on which our economies depend, and the reason we choose to live here.

That's why she said the city will stick by its plan to phase out fossil fuels by 2050:

"Many Victorians have expressed strong opposition to the Trans Mountain pipeline," Helps said Tuesday.

"We have very serious concerns about the impact of that increased tanker traffic on the long-term ecological health and economic health of our coastline."

Helps said she harbours no doubt that an increase in oil tanker traffic as a result of the pipeline expansion will increase the likelihood of a spill.

However, Helps said there is a silver lining to the recent federal actions on climate and energy.

"One is the federal government declared a climate emergency yesterday, so that's going to put some impetus under their future decisions," she said.

"And the other thing is the money from the pipeline will be reinvested in clean energy. So I guess that's a bit of a silver lining. I suppose the $4.5 billion they used to buy the pipeline could have been invested in clean energy as well."