West coast MLA calls for tsunami debris budget

Mountain of trash is headed for the west coast of Vancouver Island

Surfing could get tricky once the majority of Japanese tsunami debris hits the west coast.

There’s a mountain of trash headed towards Tofino and the MLA who represents the area wants something done about it.

However, said Alberni-Pacific Rim MLA Scott Fraser, he isn’t seeing much action, even as the first bits of plastic, wood and other Japanese tsunami debris begin to wash up on west coast beaches.

“The Liberal government’s preparation is woefully inadequate,” he said. “In other jurisdictions, such as Washington State, are way ahead of us. We don’t see a budget from the government for dealing with this debris. I have quite a bit of faith in the people of the west coast to try to address this themselves, but that’s not good enough. The province and the federal government have a responsibility to ensure the aftermath of that horrible disaster in Japan doesn’t become a disaster for west coast communities.”

Fraser called for a co-ordinated effort from Victoria and Ottawa to address the coming trashy tide and a budget to match.

“We need a budget that recognizes the reality of what’s coming and the cleanup that’s going to be required,” he said. “If this is indicative of how the province will handle an oil spill we should all be concerned. It’s lip service and platitudes only.”

In the meantime, he said, the federal government is actually decreasing the response capability on the coast.

“The federal government is trying to remove the physical presence of our Coast Guard operations in Ucluelet right now,” Fraser said. “This is appalling. They are also removing the marine pollution monitoring function of government — even while this raft of material from Japan is imminent. It’s on its way and I don’t think the government has done any proper planning on this and hasn’t shown any leadership at all.”

 

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