Western Canada Marine Response Corporation (WCMRC) is moving forward with their new on-water oil spill response base in Nanaimo. WCMRC and the Port of Nanaimo (PON) signed a 25-year lease agreement this week for nearly 130,000 square feet of land and water areas all fronting Nanaimo Harbour.
According to the Port of Nanaimo, the response base will function as the hub for all of WCMRC’s bases on Vancouver Island. It will house an Incident Command Post and will serve as the primary training facility. Construction of the base is expected to cost $10 million. When construction is complete it will be home to 35 full-time response personnel and 15 response vessels.
“We are building an entirely new marine response infrastructure on Vancouver Island and the Nanaimo response base is the heart of it all. We have a great relationship with the port and look forward to building strong relationships with the community,” commented Kevin Gardner, WCMRC’s President.
Ewan Moir, president and CEO of the Port of Nanaimo, added: “We are very excited about the WCMRC response facility and the substantial benefits for Nanaimo and Central Vancouver Island. Not only do we acquire a highly-skilled team and specialized equipment for environmental responses, locally we also
achieve long-term economic benefits from an established and professional organization.”
The base is part of a larger expansion plan that commits approximately $150 million in enhancements to WCMRC. The enhancements will double capacity and cut mandated response times in half in south coast waters. The enhancements include five new response bases, 120 new employees and 40 new vessels at strategic locations along B.C.’s southern shipping lanes.
WCMRC is a Transport Canada-certified organization that protects the coastal waters of British Columbia from oil and other marine spills. WCMRC has successfully responded to marine spills for 40 years. The organization began operations in 1976 as an industry co-op under the name Burrard Clean, and became Canada’s first certified response organization under the amended Canada Shipping Act in 1995.