An image of what a Western Canada Marine Response Corporation base could look like on Nanaimo’s south downtown waterfront. (WCMRC image)

Nanaimo oil spill response station back on track

Project has been on hold due to Trans Mountain pipeline dispute

A proposed marine oil spill response base in Nanaimo that was in danger of being dead in the water has been revived.

Western Canada Marine Response Corporation, the organization responsible for cleaning up oil spills along the province’s coast, will resume its plan to construct a response station on Port Way.

The project was put on hold in April as a result of Kinder Morgan’s decision to suspend all non-essential spending related to the Trans Mountain pipeline. However, following the federal government’s decision purchase the pipeline from Kinder Morgan for $4.5 billion, WCMRC has decided to carry forward with their project.

Michael Lowry, communications manager with WCMRC, said his company expects to continue with the project as soon as possible.

“I won’t have any details … until our board meets next Friday,” he said. “But basically, our enhancement plan is tied to the commencement of the pipeline, so if that is moving ahead, then we are moving ahead.”

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WCMRC intends the Nanaimo base to be its operations base for Vancouver Island, which, once completed, would be home to 15 vessels and employ 35 people. The base is part of a $150-million spill response enhancement program mandated by the National Energy Board. As part of that program, WCMRC plans to open additional spill response bases in Sidney, Port Alberni, Ucluelet and Beecher Bay.

Prior to WCMRC’s decision to postpone the project, the company had hosted an open house and was accepting resumés for a variety of positions at the Nanaimo base. Lowry said now that the pipeline is moving ahead, WCMRC will continue accepting applications.

“The vessel plan, the base plan and the hiring plan will resume,” he said.



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