Quadra Director suspicious of BC Ferries promises

Says it’s obvious BC Ferries has already made up its mind on eliminating certain sailings

Quadra Island Director Jim Abram says it’s obvious BC Ferries has already made up its mind on eliminating certain sailings before the government has had a chance to fully process the public’s input from community engagement sessions.

Abram, who sits on a coastal community board made up of regional district chairs, said he was on the ferry earlier this week going across to Campbell River for a meeting when his suspicions were confirmed by a deckhand.

“I had a crew member come talk to me and he told me how the crew have been given their 2014 schedule of hours and their hours have been reduced by the equivalent of our proposed sailing cuts,” Abram said. “So that information would have been generated by their human resources department six months ago. So tell me this isn’t jumping the gun on the process.

“This is a classic ‘we have decided what’s best for you, we’re going to tell you how we’re going to make it work.’”

What’s being proposed by BC Ferries is to cut sailings on the minor routes that it has deemed to have low ridership. For the Quadra Island-Campbell River run that means eliminating the 10 p.m. sailing from Quadra Island and the 10:30 p.m. sailing leaving Campbell River every day. Ferries also proposes to cut the 11 p.m. sailing off of Quadra Island and the 11:30 p.m. leaving Campbell River on Fridays and Saturdays.

Ferries, along with the provincial government which is demanding the ferry corporation come up with $18.9 million in savings, hosted public meetings over the last two months in communities which stand to be affected by the cuts. A meeting was hosted on Quadra Island, which drew more than 500 people – all of whom criticized the decision to reduce ferry service.

Some who spoke were skeptical their opinions would make a difference but a panel from BC Ferries assured the public their feedback would be taken back to the government for consideration.

Abram, however, doubts that was ever the case – particularly after he received a certain e-mail from Darin Guenette, manager of public affairs with BC Ferries, that was sent to Ferry Advisory Committees. Guenette’s e-mail outlines how BC Ferries plans to meet with the various committees, which exist for each ferry route in the province, to discuss the cuts. The e-mail was sent on Dec. 11 at 4:38 p.m., which was before the last community engagement meeting was to be held, at 5 p.m. on Thetis Island that same day.

“I wanted to send a quick note about where BCF (BC Ferries) is at (with) strategy/planning for how to meet with FACs (Ferry Advisory Committees) and discussion options for reworking those schedules that are seeing reductions from MOTI (Ministry of Transportation and Infrastructure),” Guenette said. “We have been looking at the reductions and trying to determine ‘new timings for schedules’ given the known constraints we are working with.”

Abram said the e-mail makes it sound like BC Ferries was planning to move forward with sailing cuts all along, no matter what was said during the public engagement process.

“The timing is absurd,” Abram said. “They haven’t even finished the hundreds of thousands of dollars worth of work on this process yet and they’re setting up meetings to talk with communities as to how they will deal with the changes. We don’t even know if there will be changes and as far as we’re concerned, there won’t be.”

Abram said the whole problem could be solved if the government would relent and put the ferry system back under the ministry of highways.

“It’s been 10 years of a failed experiment,” Abram said.

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

RCMP
RCMP know of witnesses to Oct. 15 attack; want them to come forward

Appeal made to their ‘sense of right and wrong’

BC ELECTION
Liberal and NDP leaders’ election tours swing through North Island

Wilkinson holds forestry rally and Horgan talks wild salmon

MARS Wildlife Hospital just got approval for a new ambassador bird. They are hoping the community will help come up with a name for the bird, currently known as Barred Owl 783. Here, Barred Owl 783 stretches their wings as they’re accompanied by MARS President Warren Warttig on Oct. 11, 2020. Photo by Marissa Tiel – Campbell River Mirror
Hoot, hoot: MARS Wildlife Centre looks for name for new ambassador bird

Barred Owl 783 came to the wildlife centre after crashing into a window last fall

Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

Join Black Press Media and Do Some Good

Pay it Forward program supports local businesses in their community giving

FILE – Provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry answers questions during a press conference to update on the province’s fall pandemic preparedness plan from the press theatre at Legislature in Victoria, Wednesday, Sept. 9, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chad Hipolito
B.C. sees record-breaking daily COVID infections with 499 new cases over weekend

Two people, both in the Lower Mainland, died due to the virus over the weekend

A passer-by walks past a COVID-19 testing clinic in Montreal, Friday, Oct. 16, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Ryan Remiorz
Canada ‘yet to see’ deaths due to recent COVID surge as cases hit 200,000

Much of the increase in case numbers can be attributed to Ontario and Quebec

Police confirm human remains were found in a recycling bin in Vancouver on Oct. 18, 2020. (Black Press Media file photo)
Human remains found in recycling bin floating near Vancouver beach

Police asking nearby residents to see if their recycling bin has gone missing

(File photo)
RCMP: Two men face charges in reported Parksville fatal hit-and-run

Investigation into man’s death began in August of 2019

B.C. Liberal leader Andrew Wilkinson visits a North Vancouver daycare to announce his party’s election promises for child care, Oct. 9, 2020. (B.C. Liberal Party video)
B.C. parties pitch costly child care programs in pandemic

B.C. Liberals say they’ll deliver on NDP’s $10-a-day promise for lower-income families

Most Read