09/15/2012 06:03 EDT | Updated 11/15/2012 05:12 EST

Protesters stage Coast Guard station sit-in to spur action

A 24-hour demonstration at the Kitsilano Coast Guard base ended Saturday evening, but protesters say they won't stop until the federal government agrees to keep the base open.

About a dozen people — including union leaders, fishermen and boat operators — staged a sit-in at the facility starting at 5 p.m. PT Friday.

Dave Clark, a vice-president with the Union of Canadian Transportation Employees, was among the protesters who occupied the station.

"It's time for the Tories in B.C. to actually stand up for B.C.ers," he said. "Forget about the party, stand up for your constituents and say what you think is right."

The 24-hour occupation of the station ended at 5 p.m. Saturday.

"We’re going to make a statement," Clark said.

"We've tried the reasonable; we've tried to give them explanations as to why they're wrong. It's obvious they're not listening so maybe this might have them listen."

The federal government plans to close the station next spring, saying coast guard crews from Sea Island in Richmond can cover emergencies in the waters surrounding Vancouver.

But protestor John Hammond, who runs a charter boat company, argues the move will drastically affect response times.

"The idea of changing response time from six minutes out into the bay — that it is now to 45 minutes by bringing somebody in from Steveston when the survival time in these waters is approximately 15 minutes, is a very bad decision by this government," he said.