By now you’ve seen the images and news reports of the oil spill in English Bay. I’m as frustrated and outraged as you are, and the City of Vancouver is using every resource at our disposal to support our partners in response.

When the federal government closed Vancouver’s Coast Guard base in 2013, we spoke out. We said it was the wrong move and would put our city at risk.

The federal government said we were overreacting and that Vancouver had more resources than anywhere in the country, but now we see the impacts of that closure. It took more than 12 hours for the Coast Guard to notify the City about the oil spill, and far too many hours for them to take action to protect our shores.

That’s unacceptable.

Hundreds of people have contacted us, asking how they can help. The federal government has advised the City that the formal oil spill clean-up of the shoreline will begin this afternoon, with crews in protective gear, and there is no involvement for volunteers. I appreciate the thousands of offers that have come in to help, and we will continue to work with the federal and provincial authorities to find ways for our volunteers to help.

Our focus as a City is assisting the federal and provincial governments in any way we can to control the oil spill and clean up our waters and shores. In the coming days, you can expect the Vision team to be asking the tough questions about what went wrong and what needs to change.

Thanks for your support,

Gregor Robertson
Mayor