This past August, the Associate Director of the Canadian Coast Guard's Western Region held a tele-conference call with all 35 staffed lights in British Columbia and announced that 18 stations on the east and west coasts would be de-staffed by August 1996. Eight of the stations are in British Columbia: Race Rocks, Discovery Island, East Point (Saturna Island), Active Pass, Porlier Pass, Point Atkinson, Ballenas Island and Sisters Islets.
In New Brunswick, Gannet Rock and Letite Passage are to be closed.
In Newfoundland another eight lightstations will go: Camp Islands, Point Amour, Sagona Island, Northwest Head, Cape Pine, Cape Spear, Peckford Island and Cape Bauld.
The official said that the remaining manned stations will be closed when issues relating to weather observing, scientific data collection, marine safety, etc. have been addressed. In New Brunswick, Machias Seal Island will remain staffed indefinitely for sovereignty reasons. (Both the United States and Canada claim the island).
Without going into great detail about the conference call, it is sufficiant to say that people were extremely unhappy about the decision and many harsh words were spoken. In general the keepers feel betrayed, as they were told that no stations would be closed until all issues relating to safety had been resolved.
Mariners and aviators are unhappy as well, since the closure of the lightstations will mean the end of reliable marine and aviation weather reports as well as search and rescue support performed at lightstations.
This story appeared in the
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