Four coastal B.C. communities will receive $2.5 million for their role in a pilot project to develop, test and evaluate a new maritime awareness information system in Canada, Minister of Transport Marc Garneau announced in Victoria Friday.
“Local knowledge and expertise is vital and our government is working with Indigenous and coastal communities and local stakeholders to protect our coasts,” said Minister of Transport Marc Garneau.
The new maritime awareness information system will be web-based, user-friendly, and will increase access and expand the type of maritime data available to Indigenous peoples, coastal communities and other stakeholders. It will display a range of valuable near real-time data and maritime information, including vessel traffic and weather information.
This one-year pilot project is scheduled to launch in spring 2019 and will be piloted by 10 Indigenous communities, governments and organizations from across Canada’s coasts.
The funding announced Friday will go to the Council of the Haida Nation and the Gitga’at Nation, who are hosting two pilot projects on the North and Central Coast of B.C., as well as the T’Sou-ke Nation and the Pacheedaht Nation, who are hosting a shared pilot project on the South Coast of Vancouver Island.
“Just as air-traffic control was developed to organize the movement of aircraft, we are working collaboratively to develop a system to better collect and share maritime information,” said Garneau. “This announcement displays the government’s commitment to strengthening partnerships and exploring innovative solutions to improve our marine system and protect our coasts for generations to come.”
This funding is part of the five-year, $62.5 million Enhanced Maritime Situational Awareness Initiative that was announced in November 2017. It is made available under the $1.5 billion Oceans Protection Plan (OPP), created to protect Canada’s coasts and waterways. The Government of Canada has announced initiatives worth more than $600 million under the Oceans Protection Plan.
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