Oak Bay council says no to oil tankers

Council latest in region to voice opposition to possible increased oil tanker traffic

Oak Bay council has voiced its opposition to oil tanker expansion on B.C.’s coast.

Based on advice of the Environmental Advisory Committee, Oak Bay passed a motion to support the Dogwood Initiative’s No Tankers campaign last Monday night (June 25).

Although local governments don’t have jurisdiction over matters such as an oil spill, it is a local concern, Oak Bay Mayor Nils Jensen said on Friday.

“Increased tanker traffic potentially puts Oak Bay shores at risk,” he said. “If there is going to be this large increase in oil tankers, we would need more resources to be on the ready in case of a spill.

“We certainly, at a local level, don’t have any capacity to deal with an oil spill, and at the provincial level, I’m very concerned about the inability to deal with a large spill.”

While the risk of a spill is small, the consequences are “monumentally disastrous,” he said, and we have to plan ahead.

Sixteen other local B.C. governments, including Victoria, Saanich, Esquimalt, View Royal, North Saanich, and Metchosin, have already shown their support for the campaign.

Local governments often bear the burden when and if an oil spill occurs, according to Eric Swanson, campaigns director with the Oak Bay-based Dogwood Initiative.

“We’re very pleased that Oak Bay’s taken some leadership in this because we think it’s going to take that,” Swanson said.

“We think that if the province is going to stand up for the coast, as we think they should, having local governments weigh in is influential.”

For more information about the No Tankers campaign, see notankers.ca.