First Nations hold marine safety talk

Delegates from more than 50 First Nations on and around Vancouver Island will gather in Sooke next week to discuss marine safety and potential disasters.

“The environment comes first with potential risks in our territories,” said T’Sou-ke Chief Gordon Planes.

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The First Nation, already known as a leader in environmental management thanks to its solar program, is hosting the summit.

“For us, a clean, healthy environment is paramount to talk about,” Planes said. “It’s important we [Island nations] all come to the same place and meet to plan.”

Planes would like to see his community’s clam beaches restored and better water flow for fish. He predicts each community will have its own ideas and concerns to share, as well as common issues such as oil spill planning and what to do in case of multiple threats, such the 2011 Japan earthquake and resulting tsunami and nuclear crisis.

“We should be talking about the Kinder Morgan pipeline. The track is right at our front door,” Planes said.

“Preparation is always the key and looking at the long term.”

The T’Sou-ke Nation Marine Safety and Risk Reduction Summit, March 25 and 26, includes workshops on habitat restoration, tanker traffic safety and energy infrastructure by provincial and federal government experts.

There will also be a presentation on oil spill-training by the Western Canada Marine Response Corporation.

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