For your information:

Nanoose Bay Torpedo-Testing Range


o A 100-square-kilometre seabed off the coast of Vancouver Island in the Strait of Georgia near Nanoose Bay, about 30 km north of Nanaimo. The seabed has an average depth of 410 metres. High-tech military hardware is used to track underwater objects in 3-D. The area is part of the test facilities at Canadian Forces Experimental and Test Ranges, which has been open since 1965 as a testing site for torpedoes, sonar, sonobuoys, and other maritime warfare equipment.


o The range tests between 300 to 400 torpedos annually, most of them American. Almost all are launched from surface craft. There have been 31,000 test firings since the range opened.


o An average of two submarines and six surface ships visit the range each year. Since the range opened, there have been 246 visits by US surface ships, 162 by US submarines, six by Canadian submarines and 254 by Canadian ships. A Chilean submarine visited Nanoose in 1994.


o The range employs 57 people, including 11 Canadian military naval officers and six US civilian technicians.


o The US has invested $170-million in the facility. Canada's investment is $47-million. The base is estimated to pump $8-million into the local economy.


o The range is linked to the US Naval Underwater Warfare Center at Keyport, Wash., which is a sub-base of Newport, R.I., Naval Underwater Warfare Center.


Nanoose background: a timeline

o The Nanoose Bay torpedo testing range located in the Georgia Strait off Vancouver Island, (officially the Canadian Forces Maritime Experimental Test Range) has been operating since 1967, testing torpedoes, sonar, sonobuoys and other maritime warfare equipment.

o Ottawa allows foreign governments - principally the US Navy - to use the facilities.

o Nanoose Bay has four test ranges, the most important called Whiskey Golf which is 24 kilometres long by eight kilometres wide. This range is used to test air, ship and submarine-launched torpedoes, usually 500-800 each year.

o In 1996, the US Navy said it had saved $2 billion over 30 years by using Nanoose Bay.

o Unlike test ranges in California and Hawaii, Nanoose Bay's average depth of 410 metres and unique seabed makes it easy to retrieve torpedoes.

o The federal government owns the land used for the range. The foreshore is owned by BC and used by the federal government under a sixty-year agreement signed in 1988. The Nanoose Bay seabed was also owned by British Columbia and leased to Ottawa.

o A Supreme Court of Canada ruling in 1984 confirmed BC's ownership of the seabed.

o Following that ruling, BC and Canada signed a $1 per year licence agreement for the seabed which expired in September 1999.

o In 1992, the B.C Legislative Assembly declared British Columbia a nuclear weapons free zone by a vote of 51 to 1.

o In May 1997, to protest US overfishing of BC salmon, British Columbia issued a 90-day notice of cancellation of the licence. By August, Ottawa initiated a court challenge to block the cancellation.

o In March 1999, Ottawa wrote to the BC Premier asking for a negotiated lease renewal.

o In April 1999, Ottawa and BC began negotiations. On May 5th senior officials signed an agreement of principles for compensation, environmental stewardship and the prohibition of nuclear warheads in Nanoose Bay.

o On May 12, 1999, negotiations broke down when the federal government confirmed that it would not stand by the May 5th agreement. After conferring with the US government,

o Ottawa said it could no longer support the prohibition of nuclear warheads.

o On May 14, 1999, Ottawa announced expropriation of Nanoose Bay, the first hostile expropriation of provincial land by Ottawa in Canadian history.

o More than 2,300 written objections were filed with the federal government and 215 people made presentations against the expropriation at public hearings in July and August, 1999 in Nanaimo and Vancouver. The hearing officer reported the objections to the federal government.

o On September 3, 1999, the BC government filed a court challenge in BC Supreme Court on the grounds that the expropriation is constitutionally invalid and that it falls outside the federal government's narrow power of expropriation over provincial lands.

o In September, 1999, the Government of Canada completed its expropriation of 217 square kilometres of Georgia Strait by filing papers in the Land Title Office in British Columbia.

o BC was offered $1.88 million in compensation.

o On December 17, 1999, the Government of Canada announced a ten-year extension of the agreement with the United States to allow the US Navy to continue to be the primary user of the Nanoose Bay testing range.


o If you have questions, please send e-mail to


Comments to :
Copyright New Media Services Inc. 2004. The views expressed herein are the writers' own and do not necessarily reflect those of shunpiking magazine or New Media Publications.