Pipe for the Trans Mountain pipeline is unloaded in Edson, Alta. on Tuesday, June 18, 2019. Statistics Canada says that capital spending in the Canadian oil and gas sector fell by 54 per cent in the second quarter ended June 30, as oil prices fell due to a global price war and demand destruction caused by the COVID-19 pandemic. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jason Franson

Feds reach out to Indigenous communities to help reduce Trans Mountain noise pollution

The funding is part of the Quiet Vessel Initiative, a five-year $26 million plan

By Premila D’Sa, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, National Observer

The federal government announced a collaboration with several Indigenous communities to address the problem of noise pollution along the Trans Mountain shipping route, which has led to the detriment of marine life in the area, including endangered Southern Resident killer whales.

Transportation Minister Marc Garneau announced Tuesday that the federal government will dispense $2.5 million over three years to help Indigenous communities protect their coastlines as Trans Mountain projects continue.

The funding is part of the Quiet Vessel Initiative, a five-year plan with $26 million pledged to help Indigenous groups affected by the projects.Indigenous communities raised the issue of underwater vessel noise with the federal government during consultations on the Trans Mountain expansion project.

While Trans Mountain itself doesn’t own any tankers (large cargo ships), the expansion led to increased tanker traffic along the commercial shipping route from the Pacific Ocean to Vancouver’s harbour.

The route cuts through the Salish Sea, a marine environment with a delicate ecosystem that runs along southwestern British Columbia and the northwestern part of Washington state in the U.S.Tanker traffic has increased from five per month to about 34 tankers per month, according to Trans Mountain.Coast Salish communities have previously sought meetings with the federal government after noticing the Southern Resident killer whale population was declining

The killer whales have been designated as an endangered species in Canada and the U.S. Their population is directly tied to the health of the Salish Sea ecosystem, according to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.

In August 2019, after the death of three whales, their population plunged to only 73, where it remains. The decline has been tied to several factors, including increased noise and boat disturbance, according to the protection agency. These killer whales are also particularly prone to extinction because of a low reproductive rate, according to a report by the Canadian government.

The federal government has launched several killer whale recovery strategies. In a 2018 report, models showed higher levels of noise and disturbance would be enough to slow down population growth and worsen the level of whale decline.

The federal funding announced Tuesday is intended to help Indigenous communities along the coast evaluate “promising” technologies, ship designs, and revise shipping practices to help reduce noise pollution from underwater vessels.

The government provided a list of 29 Indigenous communities that are eligible for funding as part of the initiative. The groups have until Nov. 20 to apply.

Trans Mountain pipeline

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

Just Posted

Kiera Bourque’s sentence ‘an embarrassment’: family of deceased Penticton teen

Bourque was sentenced to one year in prison for her role in the 2017 death of Devon Blackmore

COLUMN: COVID-19 statistics are the stories of people

This pandemic is ultimately about people, not just about numbers

How to not have your bike stolen in Penticton

Police are considering new initiatives like ‘bait bikes’

Kiera Bourque sentenced to one year in jail for death of Penticton’s Devon Blackmore

Kiera Bourque, 24, was sentenced for manslaughter in the 2017 death of Penticton’s Devon Blackmore

B.C. reports 91 new cases as officials remain worried over ‘clusters of COVID-19

There have now been a total of 8,395 cases in B.C. since the pandemic began

Transgender B.C. brothers debut fantasy novel as author duo Vincent Hunter

‘Transgender people are being misrepresented in popular fiction and media, and we aim to change that’

Kelowna RCMP seize drugs, weapons from downtown residence

Search warrant was in relation to an active criminal investigation into suspected drug trafficking

‘Won’t be gathering for Thanksgiving:’ Trudeau says COVID-19 2nd wave underway

In all, COVID-19 has killed about 9,250 people in Canada

EDITORIAL: Clearing the smoke

Wildfires have resulted in heavy smoke and poor air quality

Kelowna man’s child porn collection ‘traversed the spectrum of depravity,’ court hears

Terry Krock was caught in possession of between 7,000 and 12,000 child porn files

COVID-19 exposure at Merritt pub

The exposure happened on Sept. 19 at the pub of the Coldwater Hotel

UPDATE: Person safely pulled from Vernon creek culvert

First responders from multiple agencies assist in getting individual out of the creek

Four more cases of COVID-19 in Interior Health

There are 31 active cases in isolation in the health region

Most Read