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e-2891 (Transportation)

E-petition
Initiated by Estelle Honeywell from Vancouver, British Columbia

Original language of petition: English

Petition to the Minister of Transport

Whereas:
  • In 2013, the federal government divested the New Brighton Dock, the only all-season remote access port facility on the southwest area of Gambier Island BC, without any consultation with the local community that relies on it for all critical transport services;
  • The current owners, Skwxwú7mesh Uxwumixw (Squamish Nation), are considering their options as to the long-term future of the New Brighton Dock now that their management contract with the Ministry of Transportation has been fulfilled;
  • Given there is little or no avenue for private revenue development from the facility, it is uncertain how, or if, they will continue to manage it;
  • This situation has put the long-term future of this cornerstone public facility in jeopardy and the community does not have the resources to resolve the issue in isolation; and
  • Given that this port has been the community's critical access and evacuation point for the past 100 years, the only year-round sheltered moorage and deemed an essential service for BC Ferries (route 13) for our community to reach the mainland for necessities such as emergency care, school, work and groceries, it is absolutely crucial that this dock remains a public asset.
We, the undersigned, Gambier Islanders and friends, call upon the Minister of Transport to ensure long-term public access to the New Brighton Dock, the primary port of Gambier Island's southwestern peninsula, and assist us in working with the Squamish Nation, the provincial government, and the Sunshine Coast Regional District to ensure that the New Brighton Dock is permanently maintained as a public facility for the benefit of all.

Response by the Minister of Transport

Signed by (Minister or Parliamentary Secretary): The Honourable Omar Alghabra

Transport Canada transferred the port to the SN New Brighton Dock Ltd. under an overarching transfer agreement. The company was required to operate the facility as a Public Port Facility until November 2015.

The New Brighton Dock underwent a specific circulation process by which it was made available numerous times beginning in 1996. As part of the Port Divestiture Program, it was first offered for transfer/divestiture to other federal government departments; then to provincial governments; and, finally to local interests which include municipalities, port users, Indigenous groups, and stakeholders. When the circulation process opened up to local interests who were notified via public notice and letters in the summer of 2012, the Squamish Nation was the only entity who sought to acquire the facility.

During the transfer period, Transport Canada had limited post-transfer involvement beyond ensuring that the facility remains a Public Port Facility and the federal contribution funding was spent in accordance with the agreement.  The SN New Brighton Dock Ltd has fulfilled their obligation under the transfer agreement, therefore, TC is not in a position to direct future operations of the facility. Removing federal involvement at the facility in favour of local decision making was a stated goal of the transfer.

Issues or concerns regarding the future of the facility should be directed at the port owner and operator SN New Brighton Dock Ltd. as TC has already relinquished ownership of the facility and has no role in evaluating any future transfer or operations at the dock. TC also does not have a mandate to reacquire the port nor is a reacquisition aligned with departmental priorities. 

Open for signature
November 18, 2020, at 4:29 p.m. (EDT)
Closed for signature
January 17, 2021, at 4:29 p.m. (EDT)
Presented to the House of Commons
Patrick Weiler (West Vancouver—Sunshine Coast—Sea to Sky Country)
February 26, 2021 (Petition No. 432-00586)
Government response tabled
April 12, 2021
Photo - Patrick Weiler
West Vancouver—Sunshine Coast—Sea to Sky Country
Liberal Caucus
British Columbia
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