Rare rant

This weekend, we took the little ferry boat to Granville Island like we do very regularly. Zak started chatting with the driver about the upcoming closure of the Kitsilano Coast Guard Station. The driver was outraged by the decision and this encounter left me in the same state of mind. I can understand that the government needs to cut expenses to reduce the deficit. I can understand that the public servants charged with cutting costs have an insane job to do and are often not very aware of the regional realities. But this is just ridiculous.

With the closure of the Station, the closest Coast Guard boat will now be in Richmond and will need about an hour to make it to False Creek. The boat driver was explaining how although his boat run is extremely safe, he still has to deal with the Coast Guard on a fairly regular basis. Because people apparently jump from the Burrard Bridge on a regular basis, and being the ones on the water day in and day out, the ferry drivers end up fishing them out. They used to take them to the Coast Guard Station but will now have to take them to the public dock and wait there for the police to show up while 30 traumatized kids watch the person die (his words, not mine).

I had no clue these guys had to do such a gruesome job. It makes sense: they are the first ones on the scene and I would assume they are legally required to help if they can. But I never would have thought it was such a common occurrence. He assured us their boats are equipped with large plastic tarps for that purpose.

Anyway, that is one person we talked to about this closure. How many other stories would I hear if I asked everyone I know if they have had to deal with the Coast Guard in our area? Vancouver proper is a city of 578 000 people. It is on the ocean. We need the Coast Guard.