Tickets please: A ferry worker takes tickets at the Quadra Island ferry dock. Coastal regional district directors like Quadra Island’s Jim Abram met with Minister of Transportation Blair Lekstrom to protest the effect ferry fare hikes have on the region.

Regional directors protest ferry fare hike

Want ferry service treated as an extension of highway system too

Nine Coastal Regional District chairs and vice chairs, from Metro Vancouver to Victoria, and north to Bella Coola, have united in voicing their concerns over coastal communities impacted from BC Ferry Corporation fare increases.

On July 19 they met with Minister of Transportation and Infrastructure, Blair Lekstrom, to discuss the issue. They presented evidence that the fare increases are damaging island and coastal communities, and advised the Minister that the original objectives of the Coastal Ferry Act have not been met.

Members of the group also presented the concept that ferry service could be considered an extension of highway service, which could require that it be treated and funded in the same manner as non-marine infrastructure.

“The point was that [ferries] should be treated exactly as the highways are,” said Strathcona Regional District chair, Jim Abram.

He wants the service put back under the wing of the Ministry of Transportation and Highways. Abram is confident Lekstrom will consider all options.

“I think that the tide is turning. I really do,” said Abram. “Blair tries to do what’s right as far as I’m concerned.”

According to Abram, Gulf Island communities have seen population and business declines.

He cited Quadra Island Elementary School’s enrollment decline; from 325 children in the late 1990’s to just 89 children now.

“The public just can’t take it anymore,” said Abram. “We have all of these communities that contribute greatly to the wealth of the province, and why is it that the ferries are not being treated as highways connecting those communities? Give me a break.”

Together this group of regional districts represents 2.9 million British Columbians, or 63 percent of the provincial population. According to Abram, this diverse group of regional districts coming together is not the norm.

“It’s a very unusual situation for a group of chairs and vice chairs from all the coastal regional districts to get together with a common purpose,” he explained.

The entire group will be meeting with the Ferry Commissioner on Aug. 8, and plans to meet with Premier Christy Clark as well as Lekstrom, at the Union of British Columbia Municipalities (UBCM) convention during September, according to Abram.

The group intends to put an Emergency Resolution forward during the convention, asking for the ferry system to be part of the highways system.

Abram is confident it will pass.

“I don’t believe there will be any opposition to that resolution,” said Abram.

Just Posted

First responders searched area at Clinton Rd. near Stories Beach south of Campbell River today

First responders rushed to Clinton Rd. near Stories Beach today after initial… Continue reading

Campbell River fire crews rescue two seniors trapped by mudslide, four homes evacuated

The City of Campbell River issued an evacuation order for four homes… Continue reading

Vessel washed ashore in Campbell River during last night’s storm

A vessel appears to have gotten loose and washed to shore on… Continue reading

Heavy snowfall closes Mount Washington for the day

Road to ski resort deemed unsafe, “high avalanche danger”

Power outages in Campbell River region after last nights storm

Stormy weather across the region has knocked out the power for many… Continue reading

REPLAY: B.C. this week in video

In case you missed it, here’s a look at replay-worthy highlights from across the province this week

Philadelphia Eagles headed to Super Bowl

After routing the Minnesota Vikings 38-7, they will face Tom Brady and the New England Patriots

VIDEO: Dramatic video shows return of rescued B.C. snowboarders

Two snowboarders were rescued near Rossland, B.C. on Sunday after being lost overnight.

Tom Brady leads Patriots back to Super Bowl, top Jaguars 24-20

New England to face winner of Sunday night’s game between Minnesota and Philadelphia on Feb. 4

UPDATE: Ferries sailing again after stormy weather caused cancellations

B.C. Ferries cancelled numerous sailings around Vancouver Island today, Jan. 21

Homes, roads flooded in Whiskey Creek following downpour

Crews aid flooded homeowners while roads near Hwy 4 closed Sunday morning

Liberals quietly tap experts to write new paternity leave rules

Ideas include creating an entirely new leave benefit similar to one that exists in Quebec

Insurers say Canadian weather getting hotter, wetter and weirder

Average number of days with heavy rain or snow across Canada has been outside norm since spring 2013

Final phase of MDMA-assisted psychotherapy trials to kick off in B.C.

Doctors hope to get psychedelic-assisted psychotherapy legalized in Canada and the U.S. by 2021

Most Read