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A federal government decision to scrap the Coast Guard dive team stationed at the Sea Island hovercraft base, has been reversed.
Steveston-Richmond East MP Joe Peschisolido confirmed in a press release that the 26-member team will remain in Richmond.
The Department of Fisheries and Oceans announced at the end of May that the rescue team no longer fit within its mandate, sparking an outcry from numerous small grassroots groups, who MP Todd Doherty credited Thursday with helping to change Ottawa’s minds.
Doherty said in a video posted to Facebook on Thursday: “Wow, what a big win today at fisheries committee…The government’s backtracking on the B.C. dive team closure.”
Doherty added: “It is thanks to our grassroots movement, our teachers, parents and our conservationists who wrote in and put pressure on the government that we are seeing a reversal of these terrible decisions to cut programs that keep our Canadians safe, and ensure that our oceans, rivers, lakes and streams remain healthy for the next generation.”
Peschisolido said in the press release: “Our Government knows how much British Columbians value the Sea Island Dive Team. This group of 26 search and rescue divers are charged with responding to emergencies in the waters off the Lower Mainland,” said Peschisolido.
Peschisolido said that he worked alongside other government Members of Parliament, as well as Fisheries minister Dominic LeBlanc to have the department’s decision “rescinded”.
“The government listened to Canadians and understands the strong attachment they place on the Canadian Coast Guard, and in particular, the Sea Island Dive Team,” Peschisolido said. “I am pleased to share that our government has invested nearly $3 billion into the core operations for Department of Fisheries and Oceans and CCG Oceans Protection Plan, following a comprehensive program review.”