Marine wildlife like these crabs on Parksville Beach would face serious danger in the event of an oil spill.

Whose job is it to clean oil spills?

Report suggests coastal municipalities are not prepared to deal with marine oil spill disaster

CARLI BERRY

news@pqbnews.com

A Georgia Strait Alliance report provides a critical look at how coastal municipal governments will be able to deal with marine oil spills.

The report looks at a variety of factors, including oil spill preparedness, response, and recovery capacity. The report found that there was only one local government that participated in the study that was fully prepared for an oil spill.

“I’m expecting we’re probably unprepared,” Parksville city Coun. Sue Powell said in response to the report. “Whose job is it (to clean up the spill)? Is it the oil company’s?”

According to Powell, there is a lack of understanding between local and senior governments on the role of municipalities and a lack of resources locals can use in the event of a spill.

The GSA report also cites a lack of communication between the local and provincial governments, as well as a lack of funding.

At a Parksville city council meeting on Apr. 20 following Vancouver’s English Bay oil spill, a motion put forward by Coun. Kirk Oates instructed city staff to send a letter to Premier Christy Clark “reiterating that AVICC’s (Association of Vancouver Island and Coastal Communities) position on oil spill preparedness is also the position of the City of Parksville … that the AVICC request the Province of British Columbia order an independent audit of the current state of oil spill preparedness in B.C.”

Clark responded to the city within 10 days.

“I’m looking forward to the post-incident review — which will be made public — so we can better evaluate all the gaps that exist, and then focus our attention on how we and our federal counterparts can ensure something like this never happens again.”

Oates said Parksville will be affected at a local level so it “doesn’t matter” what level of government handles a preparedness plan.

Parksville’s beach, ecosystem and food system would be detrimentally affected by an oil spill, Oates said.

Jani Drew, emergency coordinator for the Regional District of Nanaimo, said the RDN does have an overall emergency plan which includes a contingency plan for marine oil spills.

The plan identifies actions and accountability, Drew said. As the Western Canada Marine Response  Corporation deals with the marine-based spills, the RDN contingency plan involves coordinating with the public and understanding the role of each agency, Drew said.

However, five of the six communities in the GSA report said yes when asked if there was a “need for strengthened engagement between the WCMRC and local government.”

Just Posted

Crosley Road blaze destroys pair of side-by-side structures

Bow Horn Bay Volunteer Fire Department reports no one injured, blaze quickly extinguished

Kwalikum Kondors clip Thunderbirds to earn Islands berth

Head coach Wilson says it’s the best game the Kondors played this season

Wine, beer and foodies unite to celebrate 11th annual Parksville Uncorked

Four-day festival takes place from Feb. 21 to 24

SD69 students hope to send artwork to space

The winning patches will accompany an experiment designed by five students from Ballenas

Review: Show about the show delights at Qualicum Beach premiere

A combination of hilarity and tender moments for Second Chances musical

VIDEO: The Art of Surfboard Making

Hand-made, handpainted surfboard by Parksville couple

B.C. athlete takes home gold in freestyle aerials at Canada Games

Brayden Kuroda won the event with a combined score of 121.65.

Cabinet likely to extend deadline to reconsider Trans Mountain pipeline

New round of consultations with Indigenous communities is coming

B.C. government provides $75,000 towards salmon study

Study looks at abundance and health of Pacific salmon in Gulf of Alaska

Murdered and missing honoured at Stolen Sisters Memorial March in B.C.

‘We come together to make change within the systems in our society’

UBC researchers develop inexpensive tool to test drinking water

The tricoder can test for biological contamination in real-time

Disgraced ex-Congressman Anthony Weiner released from prison

He was convicted of having illicit online contact with a 15-year-old North Carolina girl in 2017

B.C. communities push back against climate change damages campaign

Activists copying California case that was tossed out of court

Most Read