MCTS Station Closures a Major Safety Risk

October 11, 2012, 2:26 PM EST

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Closing Vancouver's Marine Communications and Traffic Service centre will endanger both the environment and lives in Canada's busiest port, said Allan Hughes, Pacific Region Director of CAW Local 2182.

Hughes addressed Vancouver media at a press conference held on October 3 at the Harbour Centre observation deck, just above the MCTS centre where officers monitor B.C.'s coastal waters and provide critical distress and safety services. The Vancouver MCTS centre is one of three in the province (including centres in Comox and Ucluelet), and among the ten across the country, slated to close by 2015.

These closures are a result of wrong-headed federal government cost-cutting with no recognition of the huge safety risk this will create, Hughes said.

"At a time when the Conservative government is aggressively trying to expand Canada's trade in goods across coastal waters why would they choose to close these centres, which are integral parts of our marine safety system?" Hughes said.

Hughes was joined by Jim Sinclair, President of the B.C. Federation of Labour as well as Constance Barnes, Commissioner of the Vancouver Parks Board and Ben West of the Western Canada Wilderness Committee, all of whom opposed these closures.

"These communication centres were built to ensure the safety of people working up and down the West Coast," said Sinclair in an interview with The Province. "It is short-sighted and narrow-minded and, at the end of the day, we have to stop it."

Hughes said the union will continue raising public awareness on the impacts of these closures and continue its dialogue with municipal, provincial and federal politicians.

At a recent convention of the Union of B.C. Municipalities provincial mayors overwhelmingly endorsed a resolution to oppose the closure of the three MCTS centres. The mayors also committed to lobby federal politicians with the hope of having this decision reversed.

CAW Local 2182 represents over 350 MCTS officers across the country.

For more information and to add your name to a petition opposing these closures, visit: 

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