The Canadian Coast Guard centre in Comox will be shutting down next Tuesday, May 10th.
A report from a committee of MP’s published today recommended that the closure proceed as originally planned.
Opponents had hoped the Standing Committee on Fisheries and Oceans would step in and stop the move.
They argued the closure of the Marine Communication and Traffic Service (MCTS) centre would impact marine safety.
Instead, the committee says it “has been sufficiently reassured that the capacity of the Canadian Coast Guard to respond to emergency situations has not diminished.”
and “recommends the Canadian Coast Guard to proceed with the planned closure of the Comox MCTS centre.”
But the Committee also says it made the recommendation with caution and is asking for regular updates.
It calls on the Coast Guard to “monitor the performance of the MCTS system in British Columbia for a period of 24 months to allow for the resolution of issues related to technology, mariner safety, workload and training.”
Coast Guard management says the closure will save $600,000 to $700,000 a year.
The plan to consolidate five B.C. Coast Guard marine and communication centres into two was put forth by the former Conservative government.
All marine communications on the West Coast will be now monitored from Victoria and Prince Rupert.
The only MP on the committee to oppose the Comox closure was the NDP’s Fin Donnelly.
Six Liberals MPs including Chair Scott Simms and three Conservative MPs endorsed the move.
“Marine safety was sacrificed for partisan politics today,” said Joie Warnock, Unifor’s Western Director.
“Committee members heard compelling testimony from experts and frontline coast guard workers about the dangers associated with closing the Comox centre, but that was all ignored for caucus discipline.”
Employees at the Comox MCTS have been offered new positions in Victoria and Prince Rupert.