Letters: Open Letter to Minister of the Environment

District of Sooke mayor writes to oppose tanker traffic

The Honourable Peter Kent

Minister of the Environment

Les Terrasses de la Chaudiere

10 Wellington Street, 28th Floor

Gatineau, Quebec

K1A 0H3

 

Dear Sir;

I am the elected Mayor for the District of Sooke, a community located on the south west corner of Vancouver Island and on the Strait of Juan de Fuca. I wish to add our voice to the many British Columbians that oppose increased oil tanker traffic through the Juan de Fuca Strait and past the West Coast of Vancouver Island.

Our community is dependent on the pristine natural state of the shoreline and ocean for our livelihood which includes sport fishing, commercial fishing, kayaking, surfing and many other ocean related activities. Our community borders the Straits as well as Sooke Harbour which joins the Juan de Fuca Strait and both are key to our economic and social well being.

Currently there are a large number of military vessels, freighters and oil tankers travelling through Juan de Fuca Strait all converging on a narrow sea lane for passage. There have been a number of near misses recorded in recent years so I believe it is inevitable that a major collision will occur in the future. Increasing the number of oil tankers by five times will only bring that inevitable disaster to our shores earlier.

We saw what happened with the Exxon Valdez a tanker that carried only 25 per cent of what today’s tankers will carry. There is no fail safe method to transport oil over water and we know that Canada’s ability to respond to a major oil spill is limited at best. A major spill of even the magnitude of the Exxon Valdez would be devastating to the waters and surrounding shores of our community.

The implications of granting permission for the expansion of the Kinder Morgan export of crude oil from Vancouver are simply not acceptable without meaningful consultation. The people who potentially will be most affected by any disaster need to be involved in the decision making process.

Until you embark on a process of meaningful consultation we are opposed to any increased oil tranker traffic through the Strait of Juan de Fuca.

Sincerely,

Wendal Milne, Mayor

 

cc: The Right Honorable Steven Harper