DFO to spend $5.2 in Placentia
New and better facilities announced for Coast Guard communications, fisheries enforcement
I’m very pleased to see our government continue to support our fishers, mariners, DFO and Coast Guard staff with these tremendous financial investments in Placentia.
— Ken McDonald
The federal government announced $5.2 million in funding Wednesday to build new facilities and expand existing facilities in Placentia for the Canadian Coast Guard and the conservation and protection branch of the Department of Fisheries and Oceans (DFO).
The new Canadian Coast Guard building will house the Marine Communications and Traffic Services (MCTS) Centre and the electronics and informatics technical workshop, and will replace the existing building, which was constructed in 1941.
MCTS centres across the country provide distress and safety call monitoring and response co-ordination, broadcast maritime safety and weather information, and monitor vessel traffic, including screening vessels entering Canadian waters.
Meanwhile, the DFO conservation and protection office in Placentia will move to a new facility that will include a warehouse to accommodate an inshore fisheries patrol vessel. This will allow for faster and more flexible operations for compliance, investigation and enforcement activities throughout Placentia Bay and the surrounding area.
“Fisheries and Oceans and the Canadian Coast Guard are pleased to invest in the people, technologies and facilities we depend on to continue to deliver the vital services that Canadians depend on to protect their marine environment and ecosystems, while also keeping mariners safe,” federal Fisheries Minister Dominic LeBlanc stated in a news release.
The construction contract has been awarded to CAN-AM Platforms and Construction Ltd. Work will begin in September, with completion expected by fall 2018.
The new MCTS Centre will then undergo equipment installation and is anticipated to be operational by spring 2019.
Up until two years ago, Newfoundland and Labrador had five MCTS centres in the province. The federal government closed the centres in St. Anthony and St. John’s - St. Anthony was consolidated with Happy Valley-Goose Bay and St. John’s was consolidated with the Placentia centre, leaving three centres. The other centre is in Port aux Basques.
The move at the time caused much concern about the possible negative impact on responding to distress calls, and maintaining communications in search and rescue operations.
The federal government, however, said at the time it would modernize infrastructure to enhance the operational effectiveness of services. Equipment will be more reliable, service disruptions would be reduced and coverage would remain the same because the network of radio and radar towers would not change.
In this province, remote radar sites are located at Arnold’s Cove, Argentia and Cuslett.
Remote radio sites are located at Arnold’s Cove, Cuslett, Hermitage, Bay L’Argent, Fortune Head, St. Lawrence, Cape Pine, Freshwater Hill, St. John’s, Victoria, Cape Bonavista and Lumsden.
Avalon MP Ken McDonald, who made the announcement last Wednesday in Argentia on behalf of LeBlanc, said the new infrastructure will enable better protection of coastal waters and the mariners who work on them.
“I’m very pleased to see our government continue to support our fishers, mariners, DFO and Coast Guard staff with these tremendous financial investments in Placentia,” he stated.
The Canadian Coast Guard Atlantic Region has 1,900 employees - of which 634 are shore-based, including 24 who work at the facility in Placentia.
The Canadian Coast Guard search and rescue vessel Sir Wilfred Grenfell.