Members of the Coastal Nations Coast Guard Auxiliary participate in search and rescue training in the fall of 2019. The federal government is financing the purchase of two new vessels and equipment for two auxiliary units in the Nisga’a and Ahousaht Nations. (Coastal Nations Coast Guard Auxiliary photo)

Members of the Coastal Nations Coast Guard Auxiliary participate in search and rescue training in the fall of 2019. The federal government is financing the purchase of two new vessels and equipment for two auxiliary units in the Nisga’a and Ahousaht Nations. (Coastal Nations Coast Guard Auxiliary photo)

Two B.C. Indigenous Coast Guard auxiliary units receive big financial boost

Federal government invests $525,000 for search and rescue vessels and equipment

Two B.C. First Nations are sharing a half-million dollars in federal funding to boost the Canadian Coast Guard Auxiliary’s response capacity for maritime emergencies.

Under the Indigenous Community Boat Volunteer Pilot Program, the Nisga’a Nation in Northwest B.C. and Ahousaht Nation on the west coast of Vancouver Island will receive $312, 815 and $214,156 respectively to purchase response vessels and related equipment. The vessels, which meet the rigorous standards of the Coast Guard and Transport Canada, will be used to improve the safety of all mariners in the vicinity.

“This program has provided funding to develop a training plan to lay the foundation and strive [toward] sustainable prosperity and self reliance for the long term, with a purpose to protect both mariners and citizens traveling throughout the northwest coast of B.C.,” Anthony Moore, the emergency response services manager for the Nisga’a Lisims Government said.

READ MORE: Coast Guard rescue stranded boaters from island

Both the Nisga’a and Ahousaht Nations are among five members of the Coastal Nations Coast Guard Auxiliary (CN-CGA), Canada’s first Indigenous-led auxiliary outfit.

Moore said the pandemic has slowed the Nisga’a Nation’s procurement of its vessel, but the importance of its arrival and the activation of the CN-CGA unit is underscored by the full scope of past emergencies in the area, including engine failures, vessels in distress, capsizing, fishing vessel accidents, maritime accidents due to drugs and alcohol, injuries due to unseaworthiness of vessels and medical distress of crew.

“To be able to have a dedicated purpose-built vessel ready to respond to any marine emergency has allowed us to build our capacity and capabilities as a member of the CN-CGA,” Moore said.

The three-year boat-funding program, launched in 2017, is part of the $1.5-billion Oceans Protection Plan, aimed at strengthening marine safety systems, promoting responsible shipping, protecting Canada’s marine environment and offering new opportunities for Indigenous and coastal communities. The plan is billed as the largest investment ever made to protect Canada’s coasts and waterways.

READ MORE: Coast Guard calling for radio officers

Minister of Fisheries, Oceans and the Canadian Coast Guard, Bernadette Jordan, said it’s important to include First Nations in that plan with the pilot program.

“Indigenous coastal communities have been stewards of the environment including oceans and shores for generations, and are unquestionably vital to Canada’s marine safety system today. The program provides necessary funding and equipment to support their efforts.”

The Canadian Coast Guard Auxiliary is a national non-profit organization of 4,000 volunteer members with access to 1,100 vessels that boost the Government of Canada’s maritime search and rescue response capacity. The Canadian Coast Guard funds the auxiliary through a contribution program totaling $7.7 million each year.

The auxiliary responds to approximately 25 per cent of maritime calls for assistance each year.



quinn.bender@blackpress.ca

Canadian Coast Guard

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

The COVID-19 outbreak at the two Coastal GasLink workforce lodges has officially been declared over. (Lakes District News file photo)
COVID-19 outbreak at Coastal GasLink worksites declared over

In total, 56 cases were associated with the outbreak in the Burns Lake and Nechako LHAs

Sadie, a long-term care resident at Mountainview Lodge in Kitimat was among those who got the COVID-19 vaccine at the vaccination clinic held Thursday (Jan. 21). Northern Health photo
Mountainview Lodge gets first shipment of COVID-19 vaccines

The first vaccination clinic was held Thursday (Jan. 21)

Brett Alexander Jones is wanted on several warrants province-wide, in connection with multiple charges. Jan. 21, 2021. Kitimat RCMP photo
Kitimat RCMP searching for man wanted on several warrants province-wide

Jones is described as a five-foot 10-inches Caucasian man, with blond hair and blue eyes.

Haisla Nation Council photo
COVID-19 vaccine supply delayed for Kitamaat Village

Supply could not be guaranteed for the Village with the current national Pfizer-BioNTech shortage

Bus routes for CMSD82 students in Cablecar and Kitamaat Village have been temporarily changed for Jan. 21 and 22. (Black Press file photo)
Temporary school bus route changes for Cablecar, Kitamaat Village

The two routes will be combined for Jan. 21 and 22 due to a bus driver shortage

Thursday, Jan. 28, 2021 is International Lego Day. (Jenna Hauck/ Chilliwack Progress)
Unofficial holidays: Here’s what people are celebrating for the week of Jan. 24 to 30

Lego Day, Talk Like a Grizzled Prospector Day and Puzzle Day are all coming up this week

A video posted to social media by Chilliwack resident Rob Iezzi shows a teenager getting kicked in the face after being approached by three suspects on Friday, Jan. 22, 2021. (YouTube/Rob i)
VIDEO: Security cameras capture ‘just one more assault’ near B.C. high school

Third high-school related assault captured by Chilliwack resident’s cameras since beginning of 2021

FILE - In this Feb. 14, 2017, file photo, Oklahoma State Rep. Justin Humphrey prepares to speak at the State Capitol in Oklahoma City. A mythical, ape-like creature that has captured the imagination of adventurers for decades has now become the target of Rep. Justin Humphrey. Humphrey, a Republican House member has introduced a bill that would create a Bigfoot hunting season, He says issuing a state hunting license and tag could help boost tourism. (Steve Gooch/The Oklahoman via AP, File)
Oklahoma lawmaker proposes ‘Bigfoot’ hunting season

A Republican House member has introduced a bill that would create a Bigfoot hunting season

Economic Development and Official Languages Minister Melanie Joly responds to a question in the House of Commons Monday November 23, 2020 in Ottawa. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
Federal minister touts need for new B.C. economic development agency

Last December’s federal economic update promised a stimulus package of about $100 billion this year

FILE - In this Nov. 20, 2017, file photo, Larry King attends the 45th International Emmy Awards at the New York Hilton, in New York. Former CNN talk show host King has been hospitalized with COVID-19 for more than a week, the news channel reported Saturday, Jan. 2, 2021. CNN reported the 87-year-old King contracted the coronavirus and was undergoing treatment at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles. (Photo by Andy Kropa/Invision/AP, File)
Larry King, broadcasting giant for half-century, dies at 87

King conducted an estimated 50,000 on-air interviews

BC Coroners Service is currently investigating a death at Canoe Cove Marina and Boatyard in North Saanich. (Black Press Media File)
Drowning death in North Saanich likely B.C.’s first in for 2021

Investigation into suspected drowning Monday night continues

Kimberly Proctor, 18, was murdered in 2010. Her family has spent many of the years since pushing for a law in her honour, that they say would help to prevent similar tragedies. (Courtesy of Jo-Anne Landolt)
Proposed law honouring murdered B.C. teen at a standstill, lacks government support

Ministry of Mental Health and Addictions has concerns with involuntary detainment portion of act

Chief Public Health Officer Theresa Tam speaks during a daily briefing in Ottawa. (THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld)
31 cases of COVID-19 variants detected in Canada: Health officials

Dr. Theresa Tam made announces 13 more variant COVID-19 cases in Canada

An Atlantic salmon is seen during a Department of Fisheries and Oceans fish health audit at the Okisollo fish farm near Campbell River, B.C. in 2018. The First Nations Leadership Council says an attempt by industry to overturn the phasing out of salmon farms in the Discovery Islands in contrary to their inherent Title and Rights. (THE CANADIAN PRESS /Jonathan Hayward photo)
First Nations Leadership Council denounces attempt to overturn salmon farm ban

B.C.’s producers filed for a judicial review of the Discovery Islands decision Jan. 18

Most Read