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Gabriola man posthumously nominated for award for advocacy against anchorages

Chris Straw, who died in a 2021 work-site accident, is an Islands Trust stewardship award nominee
Chris Straw has received posthumous recognition for his work advocating against anchorages off Gabriola Island. (News Bulletin file)

A man who died in a work-site incident last year is being recognized for his work to stop freighters from lowering anchor off Gabriola Island waters.

Chris Straw was posthumously nominated for the Island Trust Community Stewardship Awards, for the Gabriola Island local trust area. According to a press release, Straw advocated “to resist the establishment of new anchorages and to address the use of existing anchorages within the southern Gulf Islands,” and “greatly expanded the reach and influence of Gabriolans Against Freighter Anchorages.”

Straw’s efforts led to establishment of new digital communication strategies for the group, community presentations, partnerships with non-profit partners and public awareness, noted the press release, and he engaged with leaders at all levels of government to promote the group’s position.

“Chris laid the foundation for public understanding of the negative consequences of using the southern Gulf Island coastlines as parking lots for freighters,” noted the press release. “He understood that islanders needed to speak with a common voice, and was instrumental in forming the South Coast Ship Watch Alliance.”

Peter Luckham, Island Trust council chairperson, said he was proud of the efforts of Straw and the other nominees.

“This year, the impact of the work of the nominees and the quality of the projects in which they have been involved are impressive,” Luckham said in the press release. “They are especially noteworthy as much of the featured work continued through the pandemic.”

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