Construction starts on new Canadian Coast Guard Environmental Response Depot in Port Hardy

News release

November 6, 2020    

Port Hardy, British Columbia - Construction has begun on a new 10,800 square foot environmental response depot in Port Hardy, B.C. Funded under the Government of Canada’s Oceans Protection Plan, the new facility will strengthen the Canadian Coast Guard’s capacity to respond to marine pollution incidents in the areas of northern Vancouver Island and the central coast of British Columbia.

The new building and property will provide office space, storage space for environmental response, vessel, and Aids to Navigation equipment, and a large drive-on floating dock for easy loading of specialized pollution response vessels and other Coast Guard ships. Specially trained environmental response staff have been working out of a temporary facility in Port Hardy since 2018.

The new building will also offer meeting rooms and training space for Coast Guard and other local first responders, a mechanics workshop for small boat maintenance, and will have the capacity to support an Incident Command Post with a kitchen, laundry and accommodations in the event of a marine emergency in a remote location.

Under the Oceans Protection Plan, new investments in environmental response are strengthening the Coast Guard’s capability to respond to offshore and shoreline spills, employ Command and Control procedures, better protect wildlife, and contain and recover oil from the marine environment in the event of an incident on the waters of northern Vancouver Island and the central coast.

The Coast Guard is working on this project with the support of the Kwakiutl First Nation and the District of Port Hardy.

The $1.5 billion Oceans Protection Plan is the largest investment ever made to protect Canada’s coasts and waterways. This national plan is strengthening Canada’s world-leading marine safety system, providing economic opportunities for Canadians today, while protecting our coastlines and clean water for generations to come. This work is being done in close collaboration with Indigenous peoples, local stakeholders and coastal communities.

November 7, 2020, marks the fourth anniversary of the launch of the Oceans Protection Plan. Despite the new challenges that have emerged with COVID-19, the Oceans Protection Plan continues to:

  • Foster partnerships with Indigenous and coastal communities;
  • Improve marine incident response;
  • Prevent marine accidents and pollution;
  • Protect Canada's endangered whale populations; and
  • Preserve and restore Canada’s marine ecosystems.

Quotes

“A crucial part of protecting Canada’s oceans is ensuring that we can respond to environmental emergencies quickly and effectively. Funded through the Oceans Protections Plan, this new facility in Port Hardy will help ensure the Coast Guard is ready and able to manage any incidents off northern Vancouver Island and along the central coast of British Columbia. The Pacific coastline is home to some of Canada’s richest ecosystems and most beautiful landscapes, and we are going to protect it for generations to come.” 

- The Honourable Bernadette Jordan, Minister of Fisheries, Oceans and the Canadian Coast Guard

“This is an important milestone for the community of Port Hardy, the Kwakiutl Nation and the Government of Canada. Building this new environmental response depot will further Canada’s progress in protecting the coastlines that are so important to Canadians. Thanks to the Oceans Protection Plan, Canada’s marine safety system is stronger and our coastal ecosystems are more protected than ever before.”

 - The Honourable Marc Garneau, Minister of Transport

“On behalf of the Kwakiutl Nation, the elected governance is grateful that construction will soon be underway for the new Marine Emergency Response facility. We appreciate the necessary services of the Canadian Coast Guard, and with the rise of increased marine traffic and incidents, we are grateful to have the increased response capacity in our region. With regards to history, on behalf of the Kwakiutl Nation, the elected council would like to share the respect and exemplary work accomplished with the Canadian Coast Guard acknowledging our Treaty and traditional territory.”

 - Gila’kāsla, Chief Ross Hunt Jr, Kwakiutl Nation

“The District of Port Hardy is indeed pleased with the approval by the federal government to build a Coast Guard environmental response depot in our community. This much needed response depot will respond to spills and protect our ocean and foreshore ecosystems in our local and north coastal regions which are within the Indigenous Traditional Territories on our coast.  Again we thank the federal government for its continued support in protecting our beautiful B.C. coast.”

 - Dennis Dugas, Mayor of Port Hardy

Quick facts

  • The cost of the new depot is $8.8 million, with completion expected in the fall of 2021.

  • Once complete, the depot will be staffed by three environmental specialists and house new equipment including:

    • Pollution Response Vessels (PRVs)
    • Aqua Guard Triton 60 Skimmers
    • 5000 ft of curtain boom
    • Storage barges for recovered oil
    • A Mobile Incident Command Post, and
    • Offshore response equipment that can be loaded onto Coast Guard ships at the new depot.
  • Since January 2019, the Coast Guard has responded to 38 marine pollution incidents in the Port Hardy area.

  • Since the Oceans Protection Plan started in November 2016, over 50 initiatives have been announced in the areas of marine safety, research and ecosystem protection spanning all of Canada’s coasts.

Associated links

Contacts

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Jane Deeks                   
Press Secretary  
Office of the Minister of Fisheries, Oceans
and the Canadian Coast Guard        
343-550-9594
Jane.Deeks@dfo-mpo.gc.ca

Media Relations
Fisheries and Oceans Canada and the Canadian Coast Guard
613-990-7537
Media.xncr@dfo-mpo.gc.ca

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