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Oil tanker spill a threat to Stanley Park wildlife: Report

Jul 11. 12

Stanley Park is a bird lover’s paradise, but a potential oil-tanker spill in the Burrard Inlet could put at least 236 bird species at risk, warns a Wilderness Committee report released Wednesday.

The 12-page report, authored by Greenpeace International co-founder Rex Weyler, looks at the potential impacts of an oil spill on Stanley Park.

It notes that the numerous bird species rely on the beloved park for food, breeding habitat or migration stopovers. The surrounding shorelines and waters, which species like raccoons, marine algae, shellfish and river otters call home and up to 17,000 individual birds use every year, could also be devastated.

“We think it’s important that people look at the worst-case scenarios and think, ‘What are we getting ourselves into?’ before we head down that path,” said Ben West with the Wilderness Committee.

Kinder Morgan’s proposed pipeline expansion would bring about 300 to 400 oil tankers per year through the Burrard Inlet and into Vancouver Harbour that makes Vancouver more susceptible to a devastating oil spill, he added.

“We also have a long way to go when it comes to oil spill preparedness and safety,” he said, adding that it doesn’t help that the federal government decided to close the Kitsilano Coast Guard station and cut the budget for oil spill responders.

“Even if we did train people that doesn’t mean we can go ahead and expand a pipeline,” West added. “Really, the best way to reduce risk is to reduce the amount of (oil-tanker) traffic.”

By Phylicia Torrevillas -- Metro Vancouver

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