Letter: DFO - conduct a serious scientific study

Tuesday, June 21 2016

To Ms. Rebecca Reid

Regional Director General, Pacific Region

Department of Fisheries and Oceans

I retired to Gabriola Island in 2006, having been personally and privately active in environmental issues for 30 years before that in the Lower Mainland, specifically in Crescent Beach, South Surrey. My choice of a Gulf Island was influenced by the fact that the Islands Trust was a governing body that helped to keep the pristine nature of this area of British Columbia, the ecosystems of its islands, coastlines and waters safe from industrial and commercial pollution.

Many people like myself who have been involved in environmental conservation are concerned that the rich, wonderful sea life along BC’s coastlines, filled with a delicate balance and rich variety of fish habitats, are constantly under threat from disturbance and pollution. So I am in dismay to learn that officials of your department appear to be in a rush to rubber-stamp the Section 35 review of the proposal to anchor massive oil and coal-bearing ships off the coast of Gabriola Island.

I respectfully request that your department initiate a serious scientific study into the true effects of such industrial monster ships on this rich ocean ecology. The “findings” of the Tetra Tech environmental report are not the serious, comprehensive analysis of the effect such anchorages will have on this and other unique ecosystems. No matter how much pressure there is to find alternative anchorages for the Port of Vancouver, those of us living here must not have to mop up the effects on our wildlife when damage is done.

Mother Nature has been kind to those of us who live in British Columbia - by this I mean not just to humankind, but to the flora and fauna and sea life that enrich our lives. I hope I may trust in your department’s wisdom to hold the line and establish a clear balance between “urgent,” overwhelming corporate goals and the need for careful, well-studied reports on a particular ocean ecology such as that surrounding the Gulf Islands.

Yours sincerely,

~ Mary J. Gillis