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The Kitsilano Coast Guard base was closed by the Conservative government in February, 2013.DARRYL DYCK/The Canadian Press

British Columbia Premier Christy Clark and Vancouver Mayor Gregor Robertson are hoping the Kitsilano Coast Guard base will soon reopen, now that the Liberal Party of Canada has won a majority.

The Conservative government closed the Vancouver search-and-rescue base to great dismay in February, 2013. Both the Premier and the mayor were deeply critical of the move, and Justin Trudeau's Liberals, in their election platform, vowed to reopen it.

Ms. Clark, for whom the base marked a rare point of disagreement with the federal Conservatives, said on Tuesday she would like the station back in operation quickly.

"I fought for that really hard, as you may recall, lobbied the federal government almost without stop, trying to keep it open. Didn't work," she told reporters. "But I think [prime-minister-designate] Trudeau certainly heard the complaints that people had about it."

Ms. Clark said B.C. needs a greater Coast Guard presence because traffic is increasing.

"We need that Coast Guard base open. And more importantly, we need better Coast Guard co-ordination to ensure that British Columbia's coast is protected from spills as all of this traffic continues to grow," she said.

Mr. Robertson said at a separate event that the closing was "a really sensitive issue for people in Vancouver."

"As the busiest port in Canada and as a huge recreational spot, we need to make sure that people are safe in the water and our shipping industry is supported by a Coast Guard base in Kits. We're looking forward to reinstatement of those marine services," he said.

Liberal Hedy Fry, whose riding, Vancouver Centre, includes the base, said the party needs to focus on the transition to government, but is committed to reopening the base. She did not provide a time frame.

"Justin Trudeau said in his platform that he would reopen the Kits Coast Guard base and he would actually begin to reinvest in the communication networks that have been cut around the British Columbia coast, all the marine communication networks," she said. "There's no reason to believe at all that Justin Trudeau would tell you that he would do something and he wouldn't."

The Canadian Coast Guard did not respond to a request for comment. The Harper government closed the base during a round of cutbacks at the Department of Fisheries and Oceans. It said a station in Richmond – 17 nautical miles away – would respond to calls.

Fred Moxey, a former commander of the base who had retired when it closed, said he met with Mr. Trudeau a few months ago. He said the station not should have been shut down and should reopen as soon as possible.

"We've got the winter storms coming," he said in an interview.

Mr. Moxey said he believes the base could have assisted with a fuel spill on English Bay in April. John Butler, a former Coast Guard assistant commissioner who led a review into the spill response, has said he does not believe the base's additional resources would have played a role.

However, Mr. Butler found the Coast Guard's response to the spill was plagued by miscommunication, technology woes, and confusion over roles and responsibilities. Mr. Moxey noted the base is about a kilometre from where the spill occurred.

With reports from Ian Bailey and Mike Hager

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