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LETTER: Coast Guard failing to protect shoreline from pollution

Re: ‘Environmental leader calls on officials to deal with beached vessel in Patricia Bay’ (Nov. 25 Peninsula News Review).

The Saanich Inlet Protection Society (SIPS) would like to offer thanks and congratulations to the Peninsula Streams Society for organizing the cleanup at Patricia Bay occasioned by the sailboat that has been aground there for some time, and to the volunteers who gave their time and energy to remove the debris from the foreshore.

Your article quotes Ian Bruce as saying, “Given the fact that we are within sight of the (Canadian) Coast Guard, there is equipment and personnel and everything right there and we can’t keep (Patricia) Bay free of derelict boats, then what part of the coast are they guarding, if they are not guarding their own?” (By the way, Bruce is not president of the Peninsula Streams Society, but rather the executive coordinator.)

SIPS agrees with Bruce. To be specific, the relevant act reads: “Pursuant to subsection 180 (1) of the Canada Shipping Act, 2001, the minister, through the Canadian Coast Guard, has the overall mandate to ensure an appropriate response to ship-source and mystery spill marine pollution incidents in order to minimize damage to Canada’s marine and freshwater environment.”

The article quotes the Coast Guard as saying that the vessel presents a low risk for pollution. I suggest that someone from the Coast Guard should get out of the office and take a 10-minute walk to look at the beach. It’s a mess.

Ian Cameron, director

Saanich Inlet Protection Society