Thursday, October 01, 2009

Lighthouse automation plans on hold, pending review

"If following this review it is determined that a staffed presence is the only way to ensure the delivery of services, then this option will receive full consideration.

In advance of that review, no light stations will be de-staffed. " --
part of a news release from Fisheries Minister Gail Shea, outlining the details of a review on the issue of staffing lighthouses.

The plan to automate light houses on the West coast, including the key operating ones of the North coast have been put on hold as Fisheries Minister Gail Shea has ordered a review of the planned de-staffing.

The decision to suspend the plans, marks the second time that a public outcry has reversed a government position (all be it perhaps temporarily this time) over the last two decades.

There are still 27 light houses in British Columbia and 9 in Newfoundland that are fully staffed, the Coast Guard had announced its plans for automation earlier this year. a move which quickly found opposition as local MP's, MLA's and residents expressed their concerns over the safety aspect of such a move.
On the North coast, the bid to reverse the decision was led by NDP MLA Gary Coons and NDP MP Nathan Cullen, who both have been taking on the cause of the status quo ever since the decision was announced.

The union that represents the lighthouse keepers launched a petition last week to try and secure even more support for the bid to keep the lighthouses staffed.

There is no timetable for the review which will be conducted by the Coast Guard, but until those consultations are complete and a decision reached on the future of the stations, there will still be someone at home from where the lights shine out..

The Tyee/Canadian Press-- Fisheries minister stops lighthouse automation in BC, Nfld., pending review
Alberni DFO Delays De-Staffing

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