Anyone listening?

This week's editorial looks at the recent ferry cuts and consultation debacle.

Perhaps officials of B.C.’s Transportation Ministry and BC Ferries Corp. actually thought their public consultation tour would wring the last input from coastal residents to its recently announced service cuts.

It’s beginning to appear that was merely an opening salvo.

In the past week, local governments and MLAs from both the Liberal party and the opposition New Democrats have lodged a series of formal requests that the decision to axe the Discovery Coast route, linking Port Hardy with Bella Coola, be reversed or at least postponed.

“Mayor and Council urge the Ministry of Transportation and BC Ferries to delay implementation until a full socio-economic study can be completed,” read a letter submitted by the District of Port Hardy Nov. 28.

The letter expressed solidarity with 16 coastal Chambers of Commerce, the Williams Lake & District Chamber of Commerce and the Heiltsuk First Nation in the view that BC Ferries “fails the test of fiscal fairness and discriminates against rural coastal communities … .”

The letter also cited a study comparing BC Ferries with the Washington State ferry system, compiled by Vancouver Island North MLA Claire Trevena, the NDP opposition critic. Trevena’s “Washington State Ferries Fact-Finding Tour” report, issued the same day as the District of Port Hardy’s letter, provides some damning numbers.

While the Washingon State ferries carry 22 million passengers to a comparable 19.9 million for BC Ferries, Washington has 43 managers drawing $5.4 million in salary and bonuses compared to the 615 managers earning $64.6 million for BC Ferries.

Trevena is careful to note a number of mitigating factors and contrasts between the systems, and says a copy-and-paste of the Washington template is impractical for the B.C. coast. But her bottom line is that Washington recognizes coastal ferries as part of its highways system, and they are managed and funded as highways. This is not the case in B.C.

It is one thing for a remote District council and an opposition MLA to raise questions. But Minister of Transportation Todd Stone also heard last week from fellow Liberal MLA Donna Barnett, who represents Cariboo-Chilcotin and who insisted the route 40 cancellation be reversed, at least for 2014.

When the ministry and BC Ferries announced the service cuts, they insisted they wanted to hear from the public. The question remains, are they listening?

 

Just Posted

VIDEO: North Island Peewee Eagles unleash avalanche of goals against Peninsula in semi-final showdown

The two teams squared up on Sunday morning at the Chilton Regional Arena in Port McNeill.

North Island Seniors Housing Foundation takes the next step towards getting Trustee Road land

Seniors rejoice, Port Hardy council is very much in favour of helping… Continue reading

Port Hardy Volleyball club requests funding from Port Hardy council

The sport of Volleyball is alive and well in the North Island,… Continue reading

Should aquaculture programs be offered at North Island College in Port Hardy?

“I think it would be very timely to have an aquaculture program”

Island Health issues press release regarding Port Alice Health Centre service changes

Island Health will be hosting a community meeting in Port Alice Feb. 20 at 6 p.m. in the rec centre.

Trudeau’s principal secretary, Gerald Butts, resigns amid SNC-Lavalin furor

Butts categorically denies the accusation that he or anyone else in the PMO improperly pressured former attorney general Jody Wilson-Raybould

Lost a ring? This B.C. man will find it for you

Chris Turner founded The Ring Finders, an international directory of metal detector hobbyists

Poverty coalition has high hopes for B.C. poverty reduction strategy

Funding allocation expected to be released with 2019 budget

‘How did we get here?’: B.C. mom of transplant recipient worries about measles outbreaks

Addison, 7, cannot get a live vaccine because she has a heart transplant

Steelhead LNG stops work on Kwispaa LNG project near Bamfield

Huu-ay-aht First Nations ‘deeply disappointed; Steelhead says funding is the problem

NDP Leader Jagmeet Singh calls for public inquiry over SNC-Lavalin questions

Vancouver member of Parliament Jody Wilson-Raybould resigned from cabinet last week

Canadian airlines waiting for guidance from Ottawa over X gender option

Major U.S. airlines said they will change their process so passengers can identify themselves along non-binary lines

Moose Hide campaign takes message to Canadian schools

Campaign launches new K-12 education platform

‘Violent’ B.C. man wanted on Canada-wide warrant

Prince George man with ties to Vernon sought by police

Most Read