Oil spill ‘a wake-up call’ for Semiahmoo Peninsula

Oil spill in English Bay is a reminder of the risks of freight trains along the waterfront, says a three-time federal candidate

This week’s oil spill in English Bay is a reminder of the risks of freight trains along the Semiahmoo Peninsula waterfront, says a three-time federal candidate.

In a statement issued Friday by the Progressive Canadian party, Brian Marlatt added his voice to those describing this week’s oil spill in English Bay as a wake-up call.

Marlatt, who ran in South Surrey-White Rock-Cloverdale riding in the last three elections, echoed the sentiments of 2015 Vancouver Centre PC candidate Michael Huenefeld, who pointed to clawbacks of environmental-protection resources – including closure of the Kitsilano Coast Guard station – in questioning why authorities were not better-prepared for such an event.

“We face the same kinds of threat all along the B.C. coast,” Marlatt said, “whether here in South Surrey-White Rock, where new shoreline U.S.-coal-train traffic poses an alarming threat to the coastline itself, to wildlife and to our community, or in Kitimat’s deep fjord, where a dilbit spill from Northern Gateway would be even more devastating than bunker or light crude that floats – dilbit would coat the seafloor for generations.”

The Canadian Coast Guard estimates 2,800 litres, or about 17 barrels, of oil spilled from the grain freighter Marathassa as it was anchored in English Bay Wednesday. The spill was discovered around 5 p.m.

Vancouver city Mayor Gregor Robertson has been outspoken in his criticism of how government agencies handled the spill, noting if it had been bigger, the response “would have been a catastrophe.”

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