Our Member of Parliament Gord Johns and our Area A Director Daniel Arbour will be speaking.
- BLACK PRESS SUBMITTED
- Apr. 27, 2023 5:00 a.m.
On Sunday, April 30 from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. the public is invited to a rally at the Union Bay Community Hall at 5401 S. Island Highway where they will learn from experts and area local citizens about the fragile ecosystem of Baynes Sound and how the dismantling of end-of-life vessels for recycling is one of the most dangerous and hazardous jobs in the world.
These ships are filled with waste materials such as carcinogens and toxins. The foreign-owned shipbreaking operation that appeared unannounced in 2019 has been out of compliance four times in 2022, receiving three warnings for improper discharge of waste, and one advisory for improperly labelling containers. This business continues to put workers, residents, and ecosystems at risk.
A line-up of speakers, between noon and 1 p.m., include Gord Johns, MP; Daniel Arbor, director, Comox Valley Regional District; two members of Concerned Citizens of Baynes Sound (CCOBS); and Pacific Wild’s marine specialist, Sydney Dixon.
“The unique physical features of Baynes Sound qualify it as an area of ecological and biological significance,” said Dixon. “The sound is internationally recognized as a critical feeding and overwintering area for migratory birds, is one of the last strongholds for herring spawning habitat on the south coast and is an important shellfish aquaculture area in B.C. Shipbreaking releases hazardous wastes into the marine environment and may severely affect the physicochemical property of the surrounding seawater. In Baynes Sound, the environmental risks a shipbreaking facility poses likely outweighs the benefits the industry may provide to British Columbians.”
The organizers of this event want to acknowledge that shipbreaking is a necessary industry but only where there is an existing deep-water marine port with full containment.
No other jurisdiction in the developed world allows shipbreaking on the land in an ecologically sensitive area and beside a residential neighbourhood as is the case in Baynes Sound. Since this Union Bay shipbreaking business began federal, provincial, and municipal governments have either not been responsive to calls to halt this egregious operation or have not been successful to date.
At this family-friendly event, including music and a shipbreaking cake, there will be petitions to sign and sample letters to send to decision-makers in government.
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