Ferry fight not over, if we stand united

Port McNeill councillor Gaby Wickstrom urges locals to make themselves heard on ferry issue.

Dear editor,

This isn’t an open letter to the government. They are not listening. This is a letter to the people who rely on the ferry as a means of transportation, whether to do business or live their lives.

The BC Ferries “Community Engagements” were not a true form of consultation. Cuts are coming and we have now been “invited” to give our input as to the scheduling of those minimal runs.

I read with great interest last week’s letter to the editor in the North Island Gazette from a coalition of European tour operators.  They stated their dismay at the short notice of cuts, the detrimental effects this will have on their businesses and the legal implications for them, as they have contractual obligations with other partners. The Liberals’ cuts have had far reaching effects. We spent years building relationships with our foreign travel agents and in one fell swoop we have severed those ties in the most brutal way.

If these cuts are affecting people in Europe, think what they are doing to the people of Vancouver Island and, especially, the Northern Route residents. Tourism aside, what about the socioeconomic impacts to these communities? How can one put a price on the hardship that has now been placed on them? Isolation, higher food costs and loss of business opportunities, just to name a few.

Local governments have spoken out formally and informally. Citizens came to the meetings with an attitude of collaboration, willing to work with the government and BC Ferries to find a solution. Their voices went unheard.

This is the time to fight and to fight passionately. We need to stand up with a collective voice, link arms with our First Nations communities that will be severely affected and send a voice loud and clear that this is not acceptable. Giving our input to a drastically cut schedule is not an option.

The “We asked you” section of the Gazette asked us, “Was the BC Coastal Ferries Community Engagement a waste of taxpayers’ money?” 80 per cent responded with a resounding yes!

What if every adult that was part of Vancouver Island or a coastal community wrote a letter? What if you engaged friends and family that live on the mainland to support us and also write? What if that included all the companies that do business on the Island?  Remember the CORE (Coalition of Resource Employees) rally in Victoria during the ’80s meant to show the government the amount of revenue generated on the Island from logging? How about the HST referendum? When the people rose up do you think those things made a difference? You bet they did!

There will be a Defend Our Marine Highways Rally on the Legislature lawn in Victoria on March 11th. Try to make it there. Write a letter. Information for action is available on both the bcferrycoalition.org and bcmarinehighway.org websites.

Now is not the time for apathy. Make your voice heard! You can make a difference!

Sincerely,

 

 

Gaby Wickstrom

Island Resident & Port McNeill Councillor

 

Just Posted

Baby, it’s nasty outside: wind and rain will continue across Vancouver Island

Police warn drivers and pedestrians to use precaution during expected rain and winds

Collective agreement met between UFCW 1518 and IGA

Membership voted strongly in favour of the collective agreement, which came days after negotiations.

Safety board issues letters over rail crash that killed three workers in Woss

The safety board conducted the investigation at the request of the Transportation Ministry

SD85’s spring break schedule may change to two-weeks but would overlap Easter

“This makes absolutely no sense to me,” Barrett stated in a letter to school trustees.

UPDATE: Police say false bomb threat came from computer and printer in the school

“The threat was a hoax by a student,” said Port McNeill RCMP.

Cannabis gift ideas for this holiday season

Put the green in happy holidays, now that cannabis is legal in Canada

Police respond to alleged bear-spray threats in Vancouver Island park

A number of Comox dog owners have reported their off-leash dogs being threatened with bear spray

B.C. man linked to human remains probe gets absolute discharge on unrelated mischief count

Curtis Sagmoen was in Vernon Law Courts Dec. 13 for a mischief trial

Kervin’s Corner: 75 years ago this week – Jokerville, RCAF station gets new wing commander

Jokerville was the RCAF airmen’s living quarters, but the station had more history than expected.

Tilray names several former politicians to international advisory board

Many former politicians and political operatives have made a foray into the legal pot industry

Supreme Court upholds Canada’s right to reargue facts in assisted-dying case

Julia Lamb and the B.C. Civil Liberties Association are spearheading a challenge of the law

B.C. company facing several charges in 2017 chicken abuse case

CFIA investigation leads to 38 charges against Elite Farm Services and Ontario-based Sofina Foods

Woman forcibly confined, sexually assaulted between Creston and Cranbrook

The suspect forced the woman into her vehicle before driving along Highway 3

‘I thought I was dead as soon as I saw the gun’

Keremeos gas station attendant tells story about man with gun coming to store

Most Read