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MP Blaney: offline weather stations “accident waiting to happen”

Knowing what the weather will do is important, but you can’t know that if the equipment isn’t working.

For about a year, Environment Canada’s Fanny Island weather station hasn’t been working. Earlier this summer, the Sentry Shoal weather station went offline as well. North Island-Powell River MP Rachel Blaney is sounding the alarm about the situation.

She says she’s been working with stakeholders to hold Environment Canada to account, and to ask for a fix. She says the issue was brought up to her by a few constituents. She adds that when they asked about the status of repairs, they were told they are “not yet scheduled”.

“These people who brought the stations to my attention and many other mariners in the area rely on the information these stations provide to safely navigate our coastal waters,” Blaney wrote in a letter to ministers Jonathan Wilkinson, Catherine McKenna and Marc Garneau.

Fanny Island is the only sea-level weather station between the Comox and Powell River waters all the way to Port Hardy. Sentry Shoal is the main weather station where the Georgia Strait opens up. It provides accurate marine weather for the Comox, Campbell River and Powell River areas.

The weather around these areas can turn quickly and being unaware of changing conditions can be a hazard to those who work, play and travel in the waters, Blaney points out.

“It is totally irresponsible of this government to ignore these issues. These ministries need to move on this and make these repairs. Until they do, they are leaving our people at risk. Will it take having to respond to a maritime emergency for action?” Blaney said.

“This is an accident waiting to happen. We need someone to get out there and fix these weather stations. Marine safety for people living in rural communities does not seem to matter to this government.”

In the meantime, Blaney is encouraging those using the waters to share weather information and stay safe.

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