UPDATE, FRIDAY MORNING: Divers are in the water at the Kits base now, prepping for dismantling of the floats where the fleet used to tie up, according to CG workers.
For everyone wondering about the huge metal ramp that was removed from the Kitsilano coast guard base Thursday, I’m told it is heading for the hovercraft station in Richmond to replace the one there.
Dave Clark, regional vice-president of the union representing coast guard workers, told reporters he thinks removal of the ramp and dock piece is just the first step, and that federal Fisheries Minister Keith Ashfield “has (issued) an order to demolish the building ASAP. This is definitely not about the safety of Vancouverites, it is about getting rid of a smear to their reputation.”
Clark is also warning that if the building comes down, the cleanup of the former national-defence site could be costly. The last department base cleanup in Germany cost $6 million, he told CKNW. There is some pollution likely at the site, where a concrete cap was laid after a fire in the 1990s took out the old base and the new metal building was erected. Remove that cap and, well, you might have a world of problems, Clark warns.
(CTV has a great story on the costs of closing down the base, including environmental cleanup, by the way.)
I don’t know if the base building is coming down. I assume Clark knows what he’s talking about. I’d like to see a copy of the lease between the province and the feds for the site, and I’d like to see a lot of the records a reporter with some appropriate curiosity and a little cash to burn might turn up on this whole closure decision. Who knows, maybe the requests have already been filed…
What I do know is that the closure isn’t about anything as simple as a land sale and a cash grab.
It’s part of a relentless march by the federal Tories, and the Liberals before them, to dismantle much of the actual service, not just its assets.
But more on that later.