VICTORIA – New Democrat MLAs Mitzi Dean, Murray Rankin, Rob Fleming, Grace Lore, and Lana Popham says new funding to Songhees Development Corporation for their Salish Sea Indigenous Marine Stewardship project will help tackle derelict vessel removals in South Island marine waters and create new jobs.
“Removing ocean debris is critically important for protecting marine life and B.C.’s beautiful coast,” said Mitzi Dean, MLA for Esquimalt-Metchosin. “The Songhees Nation’s leadership in environmental restoration and sustainable job creation is invaluable and I am thrilled they are receiving this funding.”
The project, part of the Clean Coast, Clean Waters (CCCW) Initiative Fund will receive $2.0 million to remove 100 derelict vessels on Southern Vancouver Island and the Gulf Islands.
The Clean Coast, Clean Waters Initiative responds directly to the strong public call to action on marine debris heard from coastal communities during a comprehensive consultation in summer 2019. The main concerns raised by local governments and individuals included abandoned vessels, mooring buoys, polystyrene foam, aquaculture debris and single-use plastics. Through this funding, up to 1,200 kilometres of B.C.’s coastlines will benefit from clean-up projects, removing more than 100 derelict vessels and creating nearly a thousand jobs by, and in partnership with, coastal Indigenous Nations this summer.
The CCCW initiative is an important part of the CleanBC Plastics Action Plan and its goal to address plastic pollution. To date it has already cleaned up over 127 tonnes of debris – the largest marine cleanup in B.C. history. The initiative is also part of the New Democrat government’s $10 billion COVID response, which includes the StrongerBC for Everyone recovery plan — a plan that protects people’s health and livelihoods while supporting businesses and communities.
Murray Rankin, MLA for Oak Bay-Gordon Head
“It is especially gratifying to see the involvement of so many coastal Indigenous communities, either by undertaking their own projects or partnering with others,” said Murray Rankin, Minister of Indigenous Relations and Reconciliation. “The marine environment lies at the heart of coastal First Nations’ culture, traditions and livelihood: these projects will help protect those values.”
Grace Lore, MLA for Victoria-Beacon Hill
“Moving forward on environmental restoration requires the involvement of Indigenous communities, their values, and their knowledge. The Songhees Nation has the expertise to lead this work to clear abandoned vessels from our marine waters which will help protect our environment for future generations.”
Rob Fleming, MLA for Victoria-Swan Lake
“It is vital that we protect our marine waters. This funding for the Salish Sea Indigenous Marine Stewardship project will address ocean pollution and support Indigenous economic growth.”
Lana Popham, MLA for Saanich South
“As we recover from COVID-19, I am proud that our government is funding initiatives that simultaneously focus on economic and environmental recovery, including this one being led by the Songhees Nation.”
For more information on the fund: https://www.bccleancoast.ca
CleanBC Plastics Action Plan: https://cleanbc.gov.bc.ca/plastics