Government of Canada invests in coastal communities like Campbell River, British Columbia

News release

September 6, 2019

Campbell River, BC — Investments by the Government of Canada in the Campbell River area are improving the safety of mariners, supporting the local economy, and protecting marine life and fisheries. This includes a new building for the Canadian Coast Guard search and rescue station, upgrades and improvements to the Small Craft Harbour at Fisherman’s Wharf, and addition of long range surveillance flights under the Fisheries Aerial Surveillance and Enforcement Program.

A new building for the Coast Guard search and rescue station

Equipping the Coast Guard with the tools it needs to do its job is a priority for the Government of Canada. New infrastructure, such as a new building for the search and rescue station in Campbell River, is one of those commitments. The new building became operational in summer 2019, in time for Campbell River’s busy fishing and recreational boating season. Funded under the Federal Infrastructure Initiative, the new building cost $1.55 million, part of $45.9 million allocated to the Canadian Coast Guard to replace aging infrastructure with greener and more efficient technologies.

  • The new floating building consists of a workshop area, a locker room and washroom facilities, a meeting room and kitchen area, gear storage with arrangement for drying wet gear, and offices for the Officer in Charge and Engineer. There is also a generator to ensure service continuity in case of power outage.
  • It is a 24’x72’ modular pre-fabricated aluminum building with a standing seam metal roof and walls constructed of steel skinned foam filled panels.  The foam panels and aluminum frame are much lighter than typical timber frame buildings while still providing requisite strength and insulation.
  • The station is located in a protected basin within the small craft harbour to reduce the impacts of winter weather on vessels and infrastructure.

Improvements to Campbell River’s Small Craft Harbour

With one of the largest fishing service hubs in British Columbia, the Government of Canada is investing $2.25 million for multi-year improvements at Fisherman’s Wharf in Campbell River. This project is part of a $33 million investment in 35 Small Craft Harbours across British Columbia to ensure coastal communities can continue to create jobs, and local economies can thrive.

  • Capital dredging in Campbell River harbour will restore safe navigation for vessels and safe harbour operations to support commercial fisheries. This work is being done because deep draft vessels have had restricted use of the floats in the harbour and large vessels must time their entry and exit at higher tides. A total of 4,000 cubic metres of material is being removed from the area.
  • Float reconstruction is underway. The mooring floats were significantly deteriorated due to vessel berthing and environmental factors. Timber sub-structures, electrical and fire protection systems are being reconstructed at the North and South harbours as required. These improvements will maintain safe berthage for vessels in harbour.

A new Fisheries Aerial Surveillance and Enforcement Program base

The Government of Canada is advancing protection of the ocean, marine life and fisheries on the west coast of British Columbia with a new Fisheries Aerial Surveillance and Enforcement Program base in Campbell River. Under a five-year, $128 million contract, PAL Aerospace will increase compliance and enforcement with new longer-range surveillance and reconnaissance capabilities.

  • Fishery officers will have access to longer range aircraft, expanding their range of operations and giving them enhanced tools to combat illegal fishing and increase Canada’s maritime security. The new base in Campbell River will also allow areas that see a high level of fishing activity to be patrolled more often and for longer periods on British Columbia’s west coast.
  • Preliminary work on the creation of the Campbell River base is nearly complete, and PAL intends to break ground on the project before the end of October. Work is scheduled to be completed by June 2020, ahead of the new aerial surveillance contracts, which begin September 1st, 2020.


“Investments that help to improve communities, protect our marine and coastal areas, and keep the people who work and play on the water safe, are a priority for our Government. When we invest in local communities, all Canadians and the Canadian economy benefit. We are proud of these investments which support the sustainable development of local economies in places like Campbell River and in other communities across Canada.”

The Honourable Jonathan Wilkinson, Minister of Fisheries, Oceans and the Canadian Coast Guard

Quick facts

  • Canadian Coast Guard search and rescue station

    • Coast Guard crews working at the Campbell River search and rescue station respond to approximately 150 incidents per year and operate between Comox to the south, Kelsey Bay to the north, and all the inlets on the mainland between those two places.
    • Crews respond 24 hours-a-day, 365 days a year and include an Officer in Charge, an engineer, and two rescue specialists.
  • Small Craft Harbour improvements

    • The Small Craft Harbour in Campbell River, located at Fisherman’s Wharf, is one of the largest fishing service hubs in British Columbia. It is managed by the Campbell River Harbour Authority.
    • The harbour has an estimated maximum capacity of 4,195 vessel metres and provides moorage for approximately 130 commercial fishing vessels on a regular basis. First Nations and shellfish aquaculture vessels also use this facility. The harbour supports salmon, groundfish, dive fisheries (geoduck and sea cucumber), prawn and other fisheries.
  • Fisheries Aerial Surveillance and Enforcement Program base

    • PAL is a global leader in airborne intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance (ISR), with over four decades of experience in both civilian and military aviation environments.
    • The $128 million contract includes two King Air 200 and two Dash-8-100 maritime patrol aircraft, and three bases of operation: St. John’s, NL; Halifax, NS; and Campbell River, BC.
    • Aerial surveillance over Southern Resident Killer Whale critical habitat increased by 30% in 2019, following the implementation of fishery management measures for Chinook salmon, the whales’ preferred prey.


Jocelyn Lubczuk
Press Secretary
Office of the Minister of Fisheries, Oceans and the Canadian Coast Guard

Media Relations
Fisheries and Oceans Canada and the Canadian Coast Guard

Stay Connected

Report a problem or mistake on this page
Please select all that apply:

Thank you for your help!

You will not receive a reply. For enquiries, contact us.

Date modified: