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Ottawa introduces hovercraft to offset closure of busy Kitsilano coast guard base

The shuttered Kitsilano Coast Guard station in Vancouver in February 2013.

Darryl Dyck/The Canadian Press

A new hovercraft that was promised by the federal government to assuage anger over the closure of Vancouver's coast guard station has arrived.

Fisheries Minister Gail Shea announced the arrival of the rescue craft Wednesday with little fanfare.

The vessel to be stationed at the coast guard base at Sea Island, near Richmond, was promised along with a three-person, in-shore rescue team at the Canadian Navy auxiliary base in Stanley Park following the closure of the Kitsilano coast guard station last spring.

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The Kitsilano station on the city's False Creek was among the busiest in the country, and the city's police and fire chiefs both wrote to the minister asking that the station remain open.

But the closure was part of nearly $80-million in cuts to the coast guard budget as part of overall reductions in federal government spending.

Shea says the investment in the hovercraft is another example of her government's commitment to ensuring the safety of fishermen, recreational boaters and sailors in Vancouver's harbour.

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