The Minister of Fisheries, Oceans and the Canadian Coast Guard, announced Friday that a new Canadian Coast Guard search and rescue station will be built in Tahsis to allow for an enhanced response to marine emergencies on the northwest coast of Vancouver Island.
“The new Canadian Coast Guard search and rescue station in Tahsis improves our ability to respond to marine emergencies and incidents of all kinds in the waters of Nootka Sound, and the entire area off the northwest coast of Vancouver Island. This station and its professional and highly trained Coast Guard personnel will make these waters safer for mariners,” Jonathan Wilkinson, Minister of Fisheries, Oceans and the Canadian Coast Guard, said.
The station is being built under the auspices of the $1.5 billion Oceans Protection Plan which the Government of Canada is using to improve marine safety and protect Canada’s waters and coasts.
The new station will be home to a 14.7-metre Canadian Coast Guard lifeboat, and will operate 24-hours-a-day, 365-days-a-year. It is expected to open in early 2020.
Tahsis is located in the area of Nootka Sound, which has been identified as a location that would benefit from increased marine search and rescue capacity. The Government of Canada worked closely and in partnership with the Mowachaht-Muchalaht First Nation in selecting the location for this new station.
“The Mowachaht-Muchalaht are a people with a culture engrained in the sea and its resources, and hope the presence of this station will aid in the stewardship of our sea and resources and improve the safety of the people that partake upon it. While acknowledging we can work as partners in this initiative, the addition of this station will provide the additional support needed to improve our way of life, as well as those we share the resource with,” said Chief Mike Maquinna, Mowachaht-Muchalaht First Nation.
Under the Oceans Protection Plan, the Canadian Coast Guard is also opening new search and rescue stations in Hartley Bay and Port Renfrew, as well as the new Victoria station which has been in operation since July 2018.
“The life and culture of this community and the region are deeply influenced by our maritime environment. Protecting the coast and saving lives are fundamental values espoused by our residents and visitors. This Search and Rescue Station evidences the federal government’s concrete support for these same principles,” siad Randy Taylor, Acting Mayor on behalf of Tahsis Council, Village of Tahsis
· The Canadian Coast Guard relies on the Canadian Coast Guard Auxiliary, a network of 4,000 volunteers across Canada to assist with maritime search and rescue response. A First Nations-led Coastal Nations Coast Guard Auxiliary is being established in British Columbia to further support the participation of Indigenous Nations in B.C. in maritime search and rescue.
· There are currently 41 Canadian Coast Guard search and rescue stations located strategically across Canada to respond to maritime search and rescue incidents.
· New stations are also being opened in Old Perlican, Twillingate and St. Anthony, Newfoundland and Labrador, for a total of seven new search and rescue stations across Canada under the Oceans Protection Plan.
· Funding for the seven new stations totals $108.1 million over the next five years, with ongoing funding of $12.2 million creating 56 new positions to provide search and rescue services from these new stations.