Oil spill in Howe Sound

February 2, 2018
Tracey Saxby

A barge has sunk near Port Mellon, dumping hundreds of litres of diesel into the marine environment and a pod of orcas were spotted very close to shore in West Sechelt a few days ago.

Less than a week after Minister Heyman refused to meet with us to talk about the proposed Burnco gravel mine, a barge has sunk near Port Mellon, dumping hundreds of litres of diesel into the marine environment.

As if we needed any more proof that accidents happen, and human error always needs to be taken into consideration. Cleanup is underway, but is proving "challenging" according to a spokesperson from West Canada Marine Response Corp.

"When spills happen, they can devastate our coastline. Oil spills directly impact our economy, culture, and community who have lived off our homelands for thousands of years. The risk of spills is always present in our minds, and our communities feel the consequences," said Squamish Nation councillor and spokesperson Dustin Rivers (aka Khelsilem). "There has been a massive increase in herring returning to the sound after a century of devastation. This has brought back killer whales and other whales. Our nation is deeply upset."

"The oil spill in Howe Sound will have devastating impacts on the resident orca and salmon populations that our Indigenous cultures are dependent on," stated William George, member of Tsleil-Waututh Nation.

"Today's spill is another heartbreaking reminder that it's not a question of if spills will happen, it's when, where, and how much," said Jolan Bailey, a campaigner at Leadnow.

We will be following up to find out more info about the spill and how it was caused. But for now this is even more reason to #StopBurnco and #StopWoodfibreLNG.

Read more via National Observer, Newswire, or CBC.

Spill Photo by West Canada Marine Corp.
Photo by West Canada Marine Response Corp.


Orcas spotted on the Sunshine Coast

A pod of orcas were spotted very close to shore in West Sechelt a few days ago. Check out the incredible footage posted to Facebook by Martin Michael.

Remember if you ever spot dolphins or whales or any kind to report the sighting to http://wildwhales.org/ and send photos or video if you can. The researchers there can often identify each individual whale!



How many letters does it take to meet a Minister? More than 3,600 apparently.

My Sea to Sky has been trying to meet with Minister Heyman to discuss the proposed Burnco gravel mine since mid to late October 2017, only to be told by staff that the Minister is "too busy." But as soon as the BC Environmental Assessment Office (BC EAO) delivers their final report recommending approval of the mine (deadline today!), Minister Heyman can no longer speak with stakeholders during the legislated 45-day decision making process.

Last Friday, we held a snap demonstration at Minister Heyman's constituency office in Vancouver, only to be handed a letter stating that meeting with us potentially jeopardizes the fairness of the environmental assessment process. It feels like access to Minister Heyman is being unfairly restricted, and our opportunity to engage directly will soon be lost.

We have grave concerns about the integrity of the environmental assessment process, and the use of the professional reliance approach to assess the Burnco gravel mine. This highly destructive project threatens McNab Creek, which is one of only three salmon-bearing estuaries in Howe Sound. Our estuaries are irreplaceable. Why would we put McNab Creek estuary at risk when there are many alternative locations to put a gravel mine in less sensitive habitat? Here are a few ways you can help:

1) Sign our Burnco letter

More than 3,600 letters have already been sent! Can you take two minutes to send a letter too? If you've already sent a letter, feel free to use this tool to express your concerns about the latest diesel spill in Howe Sound.

2) Tweet or email the Minister directly

Ask Minister Heyman to stop the Burnco gravel mine. Be respectful, and keep it short and sweet.

Twitter: @GeorgeHeyman

Email: env.minister@gov.bc.ca

Burnco protest
Photo: Maura Laverty


We all need to become stewards of Howe Sound. Please take action now, and consider becoming a monthly donor to support our campaigns. We still need 50 Howe Sound heroes.

Eoin & the My Sea to Sky team


My Sea to Sky is incredibly proud and grateful to say that we rely on the My Sea to Sky community for small donations that provide the majority of our funding. Since our launch in 2014, we have been funded through personal savings, family and friends; and 100% powered by the passion of our volunteers from 2014-2016. Your generous contribution will help us to run our critical campaigns to protect Howe Sound. Every dollar helps.