Open letter from Gabriolans Against Freighter Anchorages

Tuesday, November 22 2016

Dear friends,

It seems impossible, but 18 months have passed since the Sounder alerted us all that our beautiful island could soon become a parking lot for 300-metre freighters waiting to dock in Vancouver. That same week, Gabriolans Against Freighter Anchorages was born. We knew very little about how to fight what seemed like a done deal, but we were determined to pool our resources and try. Eighteen months later our efforts seem to be paying off. Thanks to so many Gabriolans, we’ve managed to slow the process down and create second thoughts among some of the proponents. And the support continues to grow.

From Islands Trust, to RDN, to Sheila Malcolmson, Gabriola Chamber of Commerce, Gabriola Arts Council and many others, the message has been loud and clear. These anchorages will bring nothing but harm to our beautiful island and must be stopped.

In this past year and a half, volunteers throughout our community have contributed time, money and talents to fight this proposal on every front we can. We’ve been gathering knowledge and meeting government and industry leaders at every level to make our case. Our researchers have produced detailed reports providing strong evidence that the anchorage locations are unsafe, economically unsound and an environmental disaster in the making. We’ve also used social media to spread the word and are enlisting support from all over BC and beyond.

We’d like to say this is the end of the story but it’s not. The federal departments involved in this case have been preoccupied with the Liberal’s plan to increase trade along our shores while appearing to live up to election promises of environmental sustainability. We know that our issue isn’t high on their agenda. We also know that there’s a lack of clarity right now about who has the authority to actually designate anchorages. 

But don’t be fooled. Many in the shipping industry still want these anchorages and no one has taken the proposal off the table.

There’s more work to be done. 

We must continue building support for our cause and showing governments and the proponents that the proposal is a dangerous idea that was poorly thought out and benefits only shipping companies with cheap parking at our expense. We know there are alternatives and we won’t let them take the cheapest, easiest way out.

So what now? We need every member of our community to rally in support of our goal and here’s how: Get a lawn sign. Write letters to politicians. Spread the word on Facebook and Twitter. Donate if you can. Volunteer. Find out how at www.gafa.ca

~ Franz Gigl, GAFA President on behalf of Gabriolans Against Freighter Anchorages