Communities Protecting Our Coasts presents a Brant Film Festival Event with the screening of “Call of The Forest: The Forgotten Wisdom of Trees”, a film by Jeff Mckay, as an activity for the preservation of old growth trees.

Our group resides on the east coast of Vancouver Island, British Columbia, Canada in the communities of Parksville, Qualicum Beach and surrounding areas.

Communities Protecting our Coast (CPOC) started out as a group of eleven citizens who were deeply committed to preventing an oil spill on the B.C. coast. The nucleus of the group developed after several of us presented to the National Energy Board (N.E.B.) regarding the proposal by Enbridge Pipeline. Other future members joined the ensuing rally in Comox on March 31, 2012. Our mission statement has expanded over the last five years to encompass a broader vision of protecting our coast.

We continue in our commitment to stopping the expansion of oil tanker traffic on the coast, however, we are also active in promoting steps to a greener economy. Most recently, we have become active in partnering with the local level of government to begin to address the plastic pollution in our coastal waters. We come from many backgrounds; legal, education, hospital administration, mental health, nursing, maritime, journalism, technology, business, geology, fisheries, aviation, service industries and computer sciences.

Our first project, Cycling to Protect our Coast came together after 6 weeks of detailed creative planning and some apprehension. It was an astounding success. We cycled with support cars from Campbell River down to Victoria in four days touching down at many of the communities on the way seeking to build awareness around the potential for an oil spill should the Enbridge Corporation proposal be successful. On one of our stops, we sponsored a presentation to the Oceanside community by Brian Falconer of Raincoast Conservation. His slides and talk were riveting and strengthened our resolve. At another stop we were received by Elizabeth May. A new clip of our journey was featured on CHEK TV news.

Events and projects from 2012 to 2014: – Edge to Edge Marathon in Tofino / Ucluelet where we disseminated pamphlets and encouraged locals and visitors to sign our petitions. We also mounted a display of a supertanker (see video below) along the final leg of the course. -a commanding presence each year in the July 1, Canada Day parade in Parksville -“tagged on” to summer sporting activities such as cycling and running, kayaking and triathlon events . At these venues, we set up our tables with our materials, petitions and our own unique T shirts for sale. We will also distributed ancillary materials from Raincoast Conservation and the Western Wilderness Committee. – a presence at many summer markets with a similar format as above. -participated in the Nanaimo Bathtub Race, Denman Sustainability Festival, Gabriola Oceans Day. -networked with other like-minded organizations and communities in order to build our profile and influence. (Greenpeace, Gabriola AnchorRage, Friends of Clayquot, BROKE from Burnaby, Raincoast Conservation) -one of our members went to Kitimat to connect with the Douglas Channel Watch group and raise Kitimat folks’ awareness of the strength and commitment of environmental groups outside their community. Of Special Note We held a spectacular event on July 1 2014 at Parksville beach. We created the length and breadth of a VLCC tanker in the inter-tidal zone at the beach. Over 300 local citizens, the local running club and visitors participated wearing green shirts. A video was created which received much attention.

In 2015, we turned from activism and protests to a positive endeavour. We held the first green exhibition in Oceanside. Flourishing in a Green Economy (F.IG.E.), our biggest event ever was held in the Qualicum Civic Centre. FIGE drew many folks from Oceanside and the surrounding communities. There were about 60 booths and displays and we held presentations in the surrounding rooms. Tiny houses, electric cars green energy in all its forms and local green products were on display. It was an outstanding success.

In 2016, we took off our CPOC shirts and supported the candidates and parties of our choice in the federal election. In 2017, we continued to be active in stopping the Kinder Morgen pipeline by attending protests in Vancouver. However, our focus has shifted once again, as we seek to build awareness of plastic pollution in our oceans. We partnered with Anne Skipsey of QB Town Council. Our event, Plastic Oceans, was very popular with every seat taken in the Knox United Church main hall. September 2017, we hosted an event called The Future is NOT Plastic with a film: Battle of the Bag and several presentations. In partnership with Qualicum Beach Town Council, we are preparing for Qualicum Beach to be the first town in British Columbia to eliminate single use plastic bags at the point of sale.

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Judith Kemp

The Oceanside/ Parksville&Qualicum Group - Communities Protecting Our Coast