Mayday from riders of the storm

  • Nov. 12, 2010 5:00 a.m.

Submitted article–Five members of the Senate of Canada, including BC’s Nancy Greene Raine, will be visiting Prince Rupert Saturday (Nov. 20) in an attempt to find a consensus on the issue of staffing lighthouses. Following an announcement that the Coast Guard planned to de-staff and automate all 27 light stations on the BC coast, the Senate embarked on a study to deal with the safety issues the public has raised for the third time in two decades.Ironically, previous attempts to de-staff stations have created a backlash that has seen some improvements in the weather services from keepers, but this issue keeps appearing, fuelled by what many regard as desk-bound bureaucrats in Ottawa.As one keeper on the north coast put it, “Just when one part of the government is pushing the idea of super tankers in to Kitimat, another part tries to decrease the safety by shutting down light stations such as Bonilla, Triple, and Langara. It doesn’t make very much sense, does it?”For those affected by these changes, including the fishing and aviation industry, the Senate committee will be holding an open forum on Saturday, November 20 in the Civic Centre in Prince Rupert.Persons who wish to comment can do so by calling or emailing:Danielle Labonte, Committee Clerk, Tel. 613-949-4379labond@sen.parl.gc.caWritten submissions can be forwarded to Senator Nancy Greene Raine by email atNancygr@SEN.PARL.GC.CAThe light keepers have also asked the public to pass along their submissions to Jim Abram, a long time light keeper and president of their union. Email: jimabram@xplornet.caOnce the senators have heard from the marine and aviation industry in BC, they are expecting to release their consensus in December of this year.