WCMRC creates Coastal Mapping Project to help avoid oil spills in along the North Coast

Divya Gill

A few years ago, Coastal Response Program was developed by the Western Canada Marine Response Corporation (WCMRC). It deals with any kind of oil spills and further identifies and helps protect high-risk main water areas. 

The Communications Manager Michael Lowry said their focus was quite heavily on the south of the province; but over the last year now, they have been focusing more on Northern B-C.

Because of the Prince Rupert Port there has been an increase in traffic in the city - as well as with the LNG Project in Kitimat. Because of the increase in traffic, they are at a greater risk for oil spills. 

"So that could be an environmental sensitivity, like a yield bed or perhaps a seal haul out, it could be a cultural sensitivity, like a first nation site that is sensitive, it could be an economic sensitivity like a marina"

WCMRC is engaging with First Nations and coastal communities to get better understanding of their concerns along the coast. 

"A piece of the program is the community side both with First Nations and coastal communities.  So we what want to do is we want to work with these first nations  and communities to say you know here's what we found this particular area if there any information we are missing and they can help fill in the gaps there."

Lowry indicated that a second phase of the project is in the works for the near future. 

Once relationships are made with Northern first nations and coastal communities, the next step would be to get equipment into the communities and train the people. 

That way it helps minimize major complications and there are people to respond to these water sensitivities much quicker. 

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