Dear supporters of GAFA,
We are writing with an important and time sensitive request.
The federal government has set up a website to get input into their Oceans Protection Plan. The plan (OPP)is a broad collection of initiatives designed to improve Canada’s ability to protect our oceans and coasts, which includes issues related to anchorages.
We are told this site will remain open for comment until at least the end of December so please share this information with friends and family and ask them to send a clear message that anchorages in the Southern Gulf Islands, especially those proposed for the NE coast of Gabriola are a bad idea and dangerous to the health and safety of our oceans and coasts.
Here is what you can do: (and it only takes a few minutes)
- Go to: https://letstalktransportation.ca/OPP
- Register on the right (following the password directions) then confirm your registration in your email.
- Click on the link and go down to Discussions (on the left side.)
- In the Discussion section you will see 3 questions.
Below is a long list of ideas you may wish to consider when answering them: (You can copy from this list, expand on ideas that are important to you, or write your own responses)
Please note that the website is very basic and will not allow you to use formatting such as bullet points, indentation etc. Please use basic text formatting with only paragraph spacing; if you ‘cut and paste’ comments, the website changes this to one long paragraph.
1) Why are waterways important to you?
– We live on an island in what is becoming a very busy and industrialized region of the Salish Sea
– The waters surrounding our island are crucial habitat for rockfish, salmon, sea lions, killer whales, humpback whales, sea birds, shore birds and many many more species of animals and plants,
– Our community depends on the pristine marine environment for tourism, sports fishing, recreational boating and the quality of life that attracted us to live here,
– All life on earth and in the ocean depends on maintaining a healthy ocean
– It is better to protect and preserve rather than continue dangerous shipping practices and hope nothing goes wrong.
2) What key issues should the government consider while implementing the Oceans Protection Plan?
– Heavy shipping activities should take place inside federally regulated port authorities, not in sensitive environments like the Southern Gulf Island Archipelago.
– Port of Vancouver should be required to improve supply chain efficiencies to eliminate the need for overflow anchorages
– Local communities must be consulted when it comes to marine activities such as f freighter anchorages and concerns must be taken seriously
– The Oceans Protection Plan should be a reflection of its title. OCEAN PROTECTION. It is NOT about protection of : Shipping interests, Financial interests of US Coal companies (who want to ship dirty coal through Canadian ports because they are barred from US ports), or the Port of Vancouver.
OCEAN PROTECTION should mean protecting environmentally sensitive marine ecosystems.
– No new anchorages in the Gulf Islands waters: the history of harm to both the marine environment and to the health of the communities affected by the existing Southern Gulf islands anchorages is well documented.
– Southern Resident Killer Whales (SRKW) are at risk of extinction, they are starving. Repeated and often avoidable transits to and from Southern Gulf Island anchorages adds to ship noise which is proven to affect SRKW ability to hunt and to the risk of whales getting injured or killed by collisions with ships.
– Even the current amount of ship traffic in the Salish Sea is harmful to SRKW. No increase in Freighter traffic volume until the knowledge gaps in scientific research has been addressed and until Port of Vancouver supply chain inefficiencies have been addressed.
– Need for healthy beaches and foreshore for healthy whales. Beaches are spawning areas for the little feeder fish that salmon, whales, other mammals, seabirds and land animals rely on to survive. Chronic, residual ship pollution harms habitat
– Risk of catastrophic oil spills.
3) What is your top priority when it comes to protecting our oceans and coasts?
To effectively protect our oceans and coasts there cannot be a single “top priority”. Success depends on a multi- faceted approach targeting environmental concerns.
Paramount to protection is marine environmental health over shipping interests.
– Strengthen environmental protections through scientific research.
– Continue with meaningful Indigenous community engagement.
– Community involvement before OPP decisions are made.
– SRKW survival takes priority over shipping demands.
– Give Port of Vancouver the resources it needs to transition from its uncoordinated, multiple jurisdiction supply chain management model to a coordinated, single source vessel arrival system. This step forward could essentially eliminate the need for freighter anchorages in the Gulf Islands area.
– Hold shipping interests to a higher standard of practice in areas of ship noise, ship maintenance, pollution standards and more efficient vessel arrival planning.
If you have any questions, please don’t hesitate to get in touch with GAFA. Thank you for your vigelence in this important matter and please share with others you think might help out.
President, Gabriolans Against Freighter Anchorages