Western Canada Marine Response Corporation has a 25-year-lease agreement with the Nanaimo Port Authority. (File photo)

Construction on Nanaimo spill response base slated to begin in the spring

Western Canada Marine Response Corporation not expecting additional delays

As the Trans Mountain pipeline project inches closer, so does a proposed oil spill response base in Nanaimo.

Western Canada Marine Response Corporation, the organization tasked with cleaning oil spills along British Columbia’s coast, is moving forward with plans to build a $10-million, 7,430-square-metre oil spill response base on waterfront property leased from the Port of Nanaimo. Once completed, 15 different vessels and 34 employees will be stationed at the Nanaimo base, which will also serve as a training centre and hub for WCMRC’s Vancouver Island operations.

WCMRC is also planning spill response bases in Sidney, Port Alberni, Ucluelet and Beecher Bay as part of a $150-million spill response enhancement program that has been mandated by the National Energy Board as part of the Trans Mountain pipeline expansion approval.

Michael Lowry, communication manager with WCMRC, said construction should begin on the Nanaimo base sometime between April and June of next year.

“Our aim is to start construction in the second quarter of 2020,” he said, adding that the goal is to have base fully operational by the fall of 2021.

RELATED: Nanaimo could be home to new oil spill response station

RELATED: Nanaimo could become oil spill response hub

WCMRC has obtained all the necessary approvals to move forward with the project, according to Lowry. He said because the base will be on federally owned Port of Nanaimo property, WCMRC doesn’t need to obtain building permits or re-zoning from the City of Nanaimo.

“We have approvals to move ahead with construction so there is no more regulatory pieces that we have to go through,” Lowry said. “Really, now it is just a matter of getting the tenders in place and securing the contractor.”

Lowry said his company has already hired management staff for the Nanaimo base and will hire more when appropriate.

“We’ve started our hiring plan and we will be continuing to do the hiring through 2020 and 2021…” he said. “The plan is to hire more staff as more vessels come online.”

Only two of the 15 vessels planned for the Nanaimo base have been delivered to WCMRC according to Lowry.

RELATED: Company planning to build oil spill response base announces 25-year lease with Port of Nanaimo

RELATED: Work could start this spring on oil-spill-response dock in Nanaimo

WCMRC had planned to have the Nanaimo base fully operational by September, but plans were put on hold after Kinder Morgan decided to suspend all non-essential spending related to the Trans Mountain pipeline. The federal government has since purchased pipeline for $4.5 billion, with construction beginning earlier this month in Alberta.

There are still pending legal challenges and court decisions that could impact the pipeline’s future. Lowry said his company isn’t anticipating any further delays but knows they could happen at any time.

“Delays are well outside of our control and I wouldn’t have any insight on what they would look like,” he said. “Certainly, Trans Mountain has already begun construction and we have begun our work as well and we will be proceeding unless we are ordered not to proceed.”

RELATED: Proposed oil spill response base in Nanaimo postponed

RELATED: Nanaimo oil spill response station back on track

RELATED: Spill response vessels unloaded in Nanaimo







nicholas.pescod@nanaimobulletin.com 
Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter and Instagram

 

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

Comments are closed

Just Posted

Lower Similkameen Indian Band closes beach near Cawston to non-band members

The COVID-19 crisis “has not gone away” and “remains an ever present threat” says the LSIB

Morning Start: Dogs can smell cancer

Your morning start for Tuesday, July 7, 2020

Missing Penticton woman located by RCMP

Iesha Blomquist was reported missing on June 30

Video: Okanagan College congratulates 2020 grads

Over 2000 recent grads had their convocation postponed due to the pandemic

Show off your homegrown South Okanagan veggies in this photo contest

Contest encourages residents to flaunt their homegrown produce

B.C. records 31 new cases, six deaths over three days due to COVID-19

There are 166 active cases in B.C., 16 people in hospital

B.C. homeowners plead for action on condo insurance crisis

Strata property fees growing bigger than mortgage payments

Indigenous man behind complaint of BC Transplant’s alcohol abstinence policy has died

David Dennis, who is Nuu-chah-nulth, argued that six-month sobriety policy is a ‘lethal form of racism’

ICBC to resume road tests in July with priority for rebookings, health-care workers

Tests have been on hold for four months due to COVID-19

Urge travellers to follow COVID-19 rules in a ‘gentle way’: B.C.’s top doctor

Cases surging in the U.S. have B.C. officials hoping the border stays shut all summer

Two dead after weekend crash on Highway 1 near Revelstoke

The driver and passenger of one vehicle died at the scene

96-year-old woman scales B.C. butte with help of family, friends

‘I did as I was told and I enjoyed every minute of it’

Most Read