Cowichan-Malahat-Langford incumbent Alistair MacGregor, left, Nanaimo-Ladysmith candidate Bob Chamberlin and retiring Skeena-Bulkley Valley MP Nathan Cullen, Gabriolans Against Freighter Anchorages Society president Chris Straw, Scott Colborne and local residents at a meeting at Tea on the Quay in Nanaimo.

Vancouver Island NDP candidates say reconciliation and UNDRIP are keys to addressing Southern Gulf Islands freighter anchorages issue

Cowichan Malahat NDP incumbent candidate Allistair MacGregor and Nanaimo Ladysmith candidate Bob Chamberlin, held a round table discussion in Nanaimo on Monday to hear from community groups concerned about large coal and grain ships anchoring throughout the Southern Gulf Islands.

The gathering included residents from Saltair, Cowichan Bay and Gabriola Island. Some of the concerns raised included the impacts of anchor chains scouring the sea bed and destroying marine life; the impacts of constant noise and disruptive lighting systems on local wildlife and on human residents; and the potential for fuel spills with such large ships travelling in and out of the region.

During the discussion, both candidates pointed to the absence of meaningful discussion on the anchorages issue with local First Nations, who have relied on local water ways for thousands of years. Bob Chamberlin argued that respecting the rights of first Nations in this region, as prescribed in the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous People (UNDRIP), should be a key component of any Federal Government plan to address the anchorage situation.

Watch Bob Chamberlin explain his position:

Take action today: Send a letter to the federal representatives who are currently responsible for the freighter anchorage situation.