A new spill response base will begin construction on Beecher Bay in East Sooke in late October. The project will hire 20 full-time staff by the time it’s operational in fall 2022. (Western Canada Marine Response Corporation)

A new spill response base will begin construction on Beecher Bay in East Sooke in late October. The project will hire 20 full-time staff by the time it’s operational in fall 2022. (Western Canada Marine Response Corporation)

Work to start on new spill response base at Beecher Bay

Docks set to complete by summer 2021, fully operational by fall 2022

Nearly four years of delays after it was first announced, work on a new spill response base is set to begin in late October at Beecher Bay in East Sooke.

The new base will be split between nine response vessels, two landing craft and a workboat stationed at the Cheanuh Marina, and a warehouse and office built upland with East Sooke Road access. The base has begun the hiring process for 20 full-time staff.

This base is part of a larger $150-million expansion by Western Canada Marine Response (WCMRC) into Sidney, Port Alberni, Nanaimo, and Ucluelet to meet enhanced spill response requirements with the Trans Mountain expansion project.

The Beecher Bay base will allow for a six-hour response time if an oil spill occurs, a significant drop from the previous standard of 72 hours along the Strait of Juan de Fuca.

“This base makes me feel more confident that if a boat runs up on the rocks or crashes into another boat, it won’t be tragic,” said Mike Hicks, Juan de Fuca Electoral Area director for the Capital Regional District.

“It doesn’t prevent oil from going into the Strait at all, but it will definitely be a strong frontline to protect our waterways when something happens.”

Hicks pointed out that he’s eager to see an escort tug added to bring outgoing tankers out to Port Renfrew instead of Metchosin’s Race Rocks, to help as an additional safety net.

WCMRC has signed an agreement with Scia’new (Beecher Bay) First Nations to build the land base.

A temporary gangway will be installed during construction to ensure boat owners can access their boats, so the work will not impact neighbouring residents and businesses.

“When the Trans Mountain pipeline plans were put on hold, our enhancements were tied to that too,” said WCMRC communications manager Michael Lowry.

“We’ll start moving vessels in as soon as they are built. We’re looking forward to the docks being completed by summer 2021.”

Work on the docks will begin in late October and be complete next summer. Construction of the warehouse and office will start in July, and the entire base will be fully operational by fall 2022.

READ MORE: New report assesses B.C. coast’s oil spill sensitivity, and it’s high


 

Do you have a story tip? Email: vnc.editorial@blackpress.ca.

Follow us on Twitter and Instagram, and like us on Facebook.

East Sookeoil and gas

Just Posted

Daylight Saving Time officially ends at 2 a.m. Sunday when it’s time to turn the clocks back one hour.
Vancouver Island, it’s time for a change

Put your clocks back one hour before going to bed Saturday night

Sooke’s Paul Laroche gold snipes along Sooke River, a process in which he uses a mask and snorkel to find pieces of gold. (Aaron Guillen/News Staff)
Hitting the jackpot: Sooke man finds niche audience by gold-panning on YouTube

Paul Laroche, 29, with over 215,000 subscribers, opens up about his journey

Liberal Leader Justin Trudeau holds a rally at Halifax Brewery Farmers' Market in Halifax, Tuesday, Oct. 15, 2019. Four years after Atlantic Canadians gave Justin Trudeau a sweeping electoral endorsement, handing his Liberals all 32 of the region's seats, the party is bracing for losses that could have a significant impact on the final tally later tonight. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Sean Kilpatrick
Bakker: Now is not the time for a federal election

Is the government sending mixed messages, telling Canadans to stay home but going out to vote is OK?

MMFN First Nation has said that it will restrict access to portion of Highway 28 that passes through the Nation’s land until a road use agreement is reached. (Black Press file photo)
Vancouver Island First Nation blocks highway access to logging trucks in Gold River

Mowachaht/Muchalaht First Nation restricting access for Western Forest Products pending road deal

The B.C. Centre for Disease control is telling people to keep an eye out for the poisonous death cap mushroom, which thrives in fall weather conditions. (Paul Kroeger/BCCDC)
Death cap mushroom discovered in Comox

Highly poisonous mushroom found fruiting near Filberg Park

Provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry updates the COVID-19 situation, B.C. legislature, Oct. 26, 2020. (B.C. government)
B.C.’s COVID-19 case count jumps by 287, another senior home outbreak

Two more deaths recorded, community outbreak in Okanagan

Former 19 Wing Commander Mike Atkins is the new CEO of the Comox Valley Airport. Photo submitted
Comox Valley Airport Commission announces new CEO

Alex Robertson is serving as acting CEO since Fred Bigelow’s departure for medical leave last year

Drive-in movie at the Hyde Creek Petro Can. (Gaby Wickstrom/Facebook photo)
North Island presents: Drive-in movies on Halloween weekend

‘As we work towards next year’s lineup of movies, we will begin to have themes’

The Cowichan Bulldogs’ Ben Wilson runs the 40-yard dash during the Vancouver Island football combine at McAdam Park on Oct. 24. (Kevin Rothbauer/Citizen)
Vancouver Island football players meet in Cowichan for combine

48 players test their skills in bid for provincial programs

Nanaimo bluesman David Gogo releases his new single, Christine, on Oct. 30. (Photo courtesy Andrew Dodd)
Island bluesman David Gogo evokes return to good times with new single

Upcoming release ‘Christine’ among a dozen new songs written during pandemic

Janet Austin, lieutenant governor of B.C., was presented with the first poppy of the Royal Canadian Legion’s 2020 Poppy Campaign on Wednesday. (Kendra Crighton/News Staff)
PHOTOS: B.C. Lieutenant Governor receives first poppy to kick off 2020 campaign

Janet Austin ‘honour and a privileged’ to receive the poppy

The street value of the more than one-and-a-quarter kilograms of cocaine seized by VicPD officers was over $150,000. (Courtesy of VicPD)
Victoria police seize fentanyl, more than $150,000-worth of cocaine

Charges laid against two Victoria men in months-long investigation

100 Mile Conservation officer Joel Kline gingerly holds an injured but very much alive bald eagle after extracting him from a motorist’s minivan. (Photo submitted)
Rescued bald eagle that came to life in B.C. man’s car had lead poisoning

Bird is on medication and recovering in rehab centre

An arrest warrant has been issued for Brian Thomas, of Nanaimo, who is accused of throwing a “spear-like object” at a vehicle. (Photo submitted)
Warrant out for Nanaimo man who allegedly threw ‘spear-like object’ at vehicle

Brian Thomas failed to make court appearance, say RCMP

Most Read