Cullen raises Point Henry concerns to Head of Coast Guard

OTTAWA

Member of Parliament Nathan Cullen (Skeena-Bulkley Valley) has taken concerns about the decommissioning of the Point Henry Coast Guard vessel to the very top of the chain. Yesterday he met with Marc Grégoir, Commissioner of the Canadian Coast Guard, to raise concerns from coastal residents about the Search and Rescue capabilities of the proposed replacement boat.

“I’ve heard from Search and Rescue professionals, town councils, First Nations communities, fishermen and local residents,” said Cullen. “Everyone is concerned about the plan to swap the Point Henry for a smaller ship. Yesterday I took those concerns directly to the top.”

The Coast Guard has so far contested residents’ worries insisting that it is confident in the decision to replace the 70-ft Prince Rupert-based Point Henry and Campbell River-based Point Race with new 47-ft Motor Life Boats. The Commissioner claimed that the Motor Life Boats would be able to operate under much more severe weather conditions – which he said is of benefit on the North Coast.

“I made it very clear to him that local residents, many of whom make their living on the waters, are very opposed to the plan,” said Cullen. “If they are so confident in their decision, they should come to our coastal communities and meet the people affected. I invited the Commissioner to come himself.”

Cullen noted that he has spoken with the Minister of Fisheries and Oceans prior to yesterday’s meeting and will continue to raise the issue in Ottawa. Early next week he will be presenting a petition in the House of Commons signed by more than 1700 local residents.