New oil spill base to be built at Beecher Bay

Beecher Bay will host one of six new oil spill response bases being built in B.C.

Artist's rendering of new oil spill response base at Beecher Bay. | WCMRC

The industry-funded organization responsible for containing and cleaning up oil spills in B.C. has signed an agreement with the Sc’ianew (Beecher Bay) First Nation to build a new spill response base on Vancouver Island.

The Western Canada Marine Response (WCMRC) is spending $150 million on new vessels and bases in B.C. to enhance its oil spill recovery, as part of the expansion of the Trans Mountain pipeline. The WCMRC is funded by oil companies with contracts with Trans Mountain.

The Beecher Bay base is one of six new bases to be built. The new base will be split between two locations. Nine vessels will be moored at Cheanuh Marina, with an office and warehouse to be built nearby.

Construction of new docks at Beecher Bay’s Cheanuh Marina is scheduled to begin by the end of this month, with completion slated for next summer. The new base will house 20 full-time response personnel and will be in full operation by the fall 2022.

Some of the work had already begun on the expansion of oil spill response bases had already begun, but was halted for about one year, after the Appeal Court of Canada quashed the order in council approving the Trans Mountain pipeline expansion.

Work only resumed after the federal government had addressed shortcoming identified by the court

As part of the requirements to enhance oil spill recovery, the WCMRC will be adding a total of 48 new vessels, 120 personnel and six new response bases. According to the WCMRC, that will double the current response capacity and shorten the response time.