News

Show us the impacts on ferry cuts, say up-Island chambers of commerce

A rally on the Legislature lawn Tuesday attempted to send a message to the provincial government that island residents oppose ferry cuts. - Don Denton/Black Press
A rally on the Legislature lawn Tuesday attempted to send a message to the provincial government that island residents oppose ferry cuts.
— image credit: Don Denton/Black Press

If BC Ferries is saving money by cutting back on sailings, the Upper Island chambers of commerce want to know what the impacts will be on communities.

“I don’t think it makes sense to do these things without economic impact studies,” said Michael Boulet, chair of the Campbell River Chamber of Commerce.

Boulet was in Victoria Tuesday morning for the ferry protest in front of the Legislature and was speaking on behalf of the Parksville, Qualicum, Comox Valley, Campbell River and Port Hardy chambers of commerce.

“We more or less agreed on the message…that more studies need to be done,” Boulet said Wednesday. “We want to be able to work with the existing government – what are the impacts and what are the options?”

Jim Abram, the long-time regional district director for Quadra Island, was also at the protest and wasn’t as diplomatic.

“They know they’re screwing up the provincial economy!” he told the Mirror. “They didn’t do an economic impact study, no business assessment, nothing!”

Abram said ridership is declining and will likely continue if BC Ferries continues to cut sailings while boosting rates. He called the latest cost-saving measures as band-aid solutions and predicted that next year’s cost-cuts will affect the main routes out of Nanaimo and Victoria.

“What about another $20 million next year? Where will they get that? They’ll take it from other routes or eliminate more routes,” he said.

Abram said the cutbacks will affect businesses on the small islands that contribute a lot to the provincial economy.

When they suffer, he added, that means less money for social programs, health care and education.

“It’s a continuing downward spiral,” he said. “Infrastructure funding is what (BC Ferries) requires. If it was just made part of the highways system we would require just one piece – just one little piece - of that infrastructure funding and then we wouldn’t be having this conversation every year.”

We encourage an open exchange of ideas on this story's topic, but we ask you to follow our guidelines for respecting community standards. Personal attacks, inappropriate language, and off-topic comments may be removed, and comment privileges revoked, per our Terms of Use. Please see our FAQ if you have questions or concerns about using Facebook to comment.

You might like ...

Blaney to carry NDP banner into federal election
 
Museum rated 10th-best in the country
 
Balloons for kids
Shoreline cleanup and education partnership targets invasive species
 
Amrik Virk advised Kwantlen on secret executive bonus
 
Golfer Logan Yanick joining Sam Houston Bearkats
NDP demands audit of Multi-Material BC
 
Surgical waits average five months in B.C.
 
Historic police charge books returned to VicPD after digital preservation

Community Events, November 2014

Add an Event


Read the latest eEdition

Browse the print edition page by page, including stories and ads.

Nov 26 edition online now. Browse the archives.