Tanker traffic the focus of rally

Oceanside group wants to add their voices in opposition to project

Members of Protect our Coast group prepare to head to Victoria for anti-oil protest

F

ran Harrop wants to prevent oil tankers from increasing their presence off the B.C. coast.

Harrop, a spokesperson for Communities to Protect our Coast, said she expects as many as 25 members from her group to take part in a protest at the B.C. Legislature on Oct. 22,  along with numerous other non-affiliated individuals.

The protest, she said, will see cyclists biking from Sidney to the Legislature in Victoria to join First Nations and other groups opposed to the project.

“If you look at greenhouse gas emissions and climate change and what the oil sands will do if they are all sold, we won’t have a planet by the time it’s over,” Harrop said. “You always end up with the climate change scenario. As a country we have to be more responsible about the link between climate change and the oil industry and we need to encourage the oil industry to be more responsible.”

Her co-organizer Sheri Farinha stressed however that the group wants to keep its focus on keeping oil off the B.C. coastline.

“We don’t want an oil spill on this coast,” she said. “We are fighting lots of other battles, too, but we want to stay focused on this.

 

 

• When the Union of B.C. Municipalities voted overwhelmingly in favour of a resolution calling for government action on abandoned and derelict vessels on the coast, they did so in the knowledge that it wasn’t the first time they had done so — or even the second.

The resolution passed at the UBCM called on both the federal and provincial governments to implement a derelict vessel removal program and to designate the Canadian Coast Guard as the receiver of the wrecks.

Previous resolutions on the issue included one passed in 2005, which called for the federal government to remove any derelict vessel left unoccupied in a harbour for more than six months. A second motion, passed in 2010, called on the two seniors levels of government to develop a coordinated approach to removal of derelict and abandoned vessels, barges and docks.

 

 

• Raising ferry rates by 12 per cent on major routes will have a dramatic impact on businesses and residents on Vancouver Island, says Alberni-Pacific Rim MLA Scott Fraser.

“We’ll have less and less people and goods traveling to and from Vancouver Island,” he said. “In a raw business sense, it means we have been knee-capped on the Island for economic growth.”

Fraser took issue with comments from MLA Ron Cantelon about the increase being necessitated because of fuel costs, noting the 12 per cent figure over three years comes on top of any fuel surcharges that may be applied.

Fraser said a report by the BC Ferries Commission released prior to the fare increase announcement called ferry fares beyond the tipping point of affordability.

“What this means is the fares have gone up to an extent that people can’t afford to travel and this is reducing ridership and therefore revenues,” he said. “The corporation’s response has been to raise fares and cut services. It’s sort of a downward spiral.”

 

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