DFO to spend $5.2 in Pla­cen­tia

New and bet­ter fa­cil­i­ties an­nounced for Coast Guard com­mu­ni­ca­tions, fish­eries en­force­ment

The Compass - - Sports -

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.

GLEN WHIFFEN/THE TELE­GRAM

The Cana­dian Coast Guard search and res­cue ves­sel Sir Wil­fred Gren­fell.

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