Of wrecks and ship building

The coast of British Columbia has a long and rich history — some of it tragic.

Rick James knows an awful lot about these salty tales and he’s gearing up to share them at a special presentation at the Mulberry Bush Book Store in Parksville.

The author of Raincoast Chronicles 21: West Coast Wrecks and Other Maritime Tales will recount experiences of unique coastal characters and reveal a number of mysteries — such as the stories behind the many vessels that ended up as part of the hulk breakwater in Royston.

James’ tales of disaster at sea serve as a written memorial to all those whose bones lie on the bottom of one of the most treacherous stretches of coastline on the planet.

James has spent more than 20 years researching the stories behind the many shipwrecks off the B.C. coast and has written and co-authored several books and articles on the subject.

The free event is sponsored by the Canada Council for the Arts and is slated for Thursday, Nov. 3, kicking off at 7 p.m.



• The news that British Columbia was awarded an $8 billion ship building contract isn’t just good news for Vancouver, says Parksville-Qualicum MLA Ron Cantelon.

“There will be a lot of work for Vancouver Island,” he said. “These things are built in component style and assembled in Vancouver in many cases, so there will be lots of work spread around — and these are high-paying jobs. It’s great news.”

Cantelon, who played an active role in the lobbying campaign to get the contract for B.C., said there is also an opportunity for a $2 billion contract to build other vessels.

“We’ve established our credentials and I’m hoping local shipyards will get a piece of that,” he said.

“We’ve shown that Canada has more than one coast.”

Although B.C.’s Seaspan received the smaller portion of the $33 billion in ship building contracts, with $25 billion going to Halifax’s Irving Shipyards, Cantelon said it was the right decision.

“This is perfect for us,” he said. “The other side is warships that involve armament and guns that don’t relate to our capabilities. But supply ships and support vessels are right up our alley.”


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