Kitsilano coast guard station is still needed

Editor: Re: “Coast guard hysteria sinks lower” (B.C. Views, May 1).

I believe I may be the “retired captain from the now-closed Kitsilano coast guard station” referred to by Tom Fletcher.

I am a disgruntled Canadian citizen and voter, not a disgruntled retiree of the coast guard.

I was good at my job and loved my career.

I retired after 32 years of service to an organization that employs so many talented and hard-working people, all dedicated to lifesaving, marine safety and, yes, environmental response.

I didn’t even think of getting involved until such time that the exaggerations and fabrications began pouring from the coast guard’s commissioners and deputy commissioners’ mouths, all for the purpose of saving the prime minister’s reputation for just one of his many ill-thought-out cuts.

The coast guard station at Kitsilano was primarily a rescue boat station, but “Kits Base” was also one of the best equipped and trained lifeboat stations in Canada.

That’s a fact, not some jaded opinion from a disgruntled ex-employee.

We fought fires, responded to numerous oil spills yearly, rescued and assisted hundreds of mariners and boaters annually, trained many “basic oil pollution responders” annually (until that program was also shut down).

The staff at the station also monitored and helped to maintain navigational aids in the busy harbour.

I was a coxswain at Kitsilano Base, a trained pollution response technician and a licensed hovercraft pilot. Because of retirement I can now speak freely, unlike the coast guard personnel who are still employed and unable to comment due to fear of repercussions from management.

How do you explain closing one of the busiest coast guard stations in the country to save $700,000 a year?

When will Canadians wake up?

Capt. Tony Toxopeus AMS,

Surrey

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