Another question concerned the future of the Sable Island Station.
The first of these annual meetings, in October 2004, was organized because the Government of Canada was seriously considering closing the Sable Island Station. Thus many people were interested to know what has been done since then to provide long-term security for the Station.
A week before the March 4th event at Saint Mary’s, an explanation of the situation was provided by Environment Canada at a meeting of the Sable Island Stakeholders Advisory Committee. Since 2005 when Environment Canada and Fisheries and Oceans made a commitment to maintain the Sable Island Station, funding has been provided from the Oceans Action Plan. That program has evolved and is now the Health of the Oceans program.
Presently funding for the Station and for island conservation comprises two envelopes, one for the Station (to maintain the status quo—operations and programs), and one for developing the National Wildlife Area designation for the island. Both fall under the Health of the Oceans. Five years of funding has been endorsed in principle by Treasury Board, but has to be approved year by year. This funding is available to March 2012, and includes a maintenance budget for the Sable Station, and a budget for the Canadian Wildlife Service. The latter will enable the CWS to work on the NWA designation and to hire one staff person to deal with Sable issues and programs, and to develop a management plan. The NWA designation has the potential to include some marine protected area.
Total amounts have not been announced yet. (On the day after the public meeting, a report on CBC Radio said that $1million/year will be provided, but no one attending or presenting at the meeting mentioned that amount, so it is unclear how the reporter came up with that value.)
In the meantime, Fisheries and Oceans and Environment Canada will work towards securing longer-term indeterminate funding ("A-based funding"). However, the government has not made an announcement about any of this, and has not indicated when it will be announced. So things are looking good for the Station and for the island, better than at any time in the last decade, but not confirmed.
Although there is still much to do before the Sable Station and stewardship for the island are secure, Fisheries and Oceans Canada, Environment Canada, and the Province of Nova Scotia, should be acknowledged for their continuing efforts on behalf of Sable Island and the Station