News : Second Vancouver Coast Guard Centre Closing
Vancouver, BC, Canada, May 5, 2015 -- Another Coast Guard centre is closing with the shuttering of a communications hub akin to the "911" call centre for mariners.
Unifor B.C. area director Gavin McGarrigle, representing workers at the centre, said the closure of the 2380 W. Hastings St. Marine Communication and Traffic Services Centre would only save government $700,000 — but cost the Coast Guard their eyes and ears in the Vancouver harbour.
"They provide vessel traffic services — like air traffic control — communications and co-ordinations to detect distress situations," he said.
"It’s a 911 centre for mariners. They also broadcast maritime safety information, screen vessels, provide marine information to other government departments and agencies."
McGarrigle said future maritime communicatons would be directed out of Victoria instead.
"What we’ve got is the ability to have people that are there that can be on the ground looking out for people," he said.
"There are times when you need the ability to see into the harbour and be close at hand to be able to respond quicker."
McGarrigle said eliminating the centre would leave just the Victoria and Prince Rupert centres — and those can fail, as witnessed earlier this month when the Prince Rupert station suffered a blackout and Victoria had to substitute.
"(That was) the equivalent of 911 being out of service from the northern tip of Vancouver Island to the Alaska border," he said.
Posted by Veronica Silva Cusi, news correspondent
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Published: Thursday, May 7, 2015