Tahsis, British Columbia – Through the $1.5 billion Oceans Protection Plan, the Government of Canada is improving marine safety and protecting Canada’s waterways and coasts for today and the future. With this plan we are coming through on our commitment to rebuild the Canadian Coast Guard, and expand its capacity to keep our waters safer, cleaner and healthier.
As part of this commitment, we are building four new Coast Guard search and rescue stations along the coast of British Columbia, and today, we are marking beginning of construction for the new station in Tahsis.
The Tahsis station will enhance the Coast Guard’s capacity to prevent and respond to on-water incidents in the area of Nootka Sound and in the waters off the northwest coast of Vancouver Island. This area was previously identified as requiring increased marine infrastructure, and will benefit from this station enhancing the marine search and rescue capacity, and environmental protection.
Our government worked in close partnership with the Mowachaht-Muchalaht First Nation to incorporate local and traditional knowledge in order to determine the best location and implementation plan for the new search and rescue station. To ensure that the project construction moves forward smoothly, and in the best interest of the local community, we will continue to work closely with the Mowachaht-Muchalaht First Nation and the Village of Tahsis.
This is a concrete example of what can be accomplished through co-lead decision making, and when a government is committed to advancing meaningful Reconciliation and building a relationship with Indigenous Peoples based on the recognition of rights, respect, cooperation, and partnership.
The Canadian Coast Guard, members of the Mowachaht-Muchalaht First Nation, and the Village of Tahsis marked the start of construction with Mowachaht-Muchalaht prayers and speeches, and a community celebration at the building site.
Expected to open in 2020, the new station will be home to a 14.7-metre Canadian Coast Guard lifeboat, and will operate 24-hours-a-day, 365 days-a-year to enhance Coast Guard capacity off the northwest coast of the Island, keeping the waters safer, cleaner and healthier.
“With the longest coastline in the world, Canadians rely on the Coast Guard to protect mariners and our coastal environment, keeping our oceans safer, cleaner and healthier. Through investments in key projects such as the new station in Tahsis, our government is enhancing the Coast Guard’s response capacity to marine incidents for the benefit of Canadians today and for future generations.”
The Honourable Jonathan Wilkinson, Minister of Fisheries, Oceans and the Canadian Coast Guard
“The Mowachaht-Muchalaht people have lived on the land in this region and been stewards of these waters for thousands of years. Today, we are here with the Canadian Coast Guard to celebrate not just the start of construction of a search and rescue station, but also a partnership that brings a new level of safety for mariners and supports us in our stewardship of the sea and its resources.”
Chief Jerry Jack, Mowachaht-Muchalaht First Nation
“The life and culture of this community and the region are deeply influenced by our maritime environment. Protecting the coast and saving lives are fundamental values espoused by our residents and visitors. This Search and Rescue Station evidences the federal government’s concrete support for these same principles.”
Martin Davis, Mayor of Tahsis
The station will feature a 14.7-metre Canadian Coast Guard lifeboat, and a Rigid Hull Inflatable Boat, providing 24-hour response services for search and rescue, environmental response, and other activities
The Canadian Coast Guard is opening four search and rescue stations in British Columbia as part of the Oceans Protection Plan to improve marine safety, protect Canada’s marine environment and coastal communities, and to support economic growth. In addition to Tahsis, these three stations will be located in Hartley Bay, Victoria and Port Renfrew.
Three additional search and rescue stations are being opened in Newfoundland and Labrador.
The Canadian Coast Guard is supported by the Canadian Coast Guard Auxiliary, a network of 4,000 volunteers across Canada to support maritime search and rescue activities. A new chapter of the Coast Guard Auxiliary will be created in British Columbia to support Indigenous communities.
Funding for the seven new stations totals $108.1 million over the next five years, with ongoing funding of $12.2 million creating 56 new positions to provide search and rescue services from these new stations.