General · 27th March 2013
March 25, 2013
On March 12, 2013 the Coastal Regional District Chairs Group met in Victoria with the Minister of Transportation and Infrastructure (MOTI), and separately with opposition MLAs, to discuss the recently released Ferry Consultation Report and concerns the regional districts have with the ferry system and its impact on the lives of coastal BC residents. The Chairs represent 70% of the population of British Columbia.
Mary Polak, MOTI minister, advised that although she recognized the challenges and regarded affordability as a key component of the sustainability of BC Ferries, there would be no more funding available this year, and probably none in 2014. She also noted that there would be service cuts.
At the meeting with opposition MLAs Maurine Karagianis, Claire Trevena, and Nicholas Simons, all Chairs expressed their views on the ferry system’s effects on their respective regions. The MLAs advised the Chairs Group that, if the NDP was to form the next government, they would like to make significant changes in the operations of the coastal ferry service as they were not satisfied with the high fares which were affecting the local economies. MLA Karagianis also advised that there would have to be a thorough review of the province’s finances before any actions could be put in place.
Nine members of the Coastal Group’s chairs were present for the meetings, including Colin Palmer, Powell River RD; Alastair Bryson, Capital RD; Edwin Grieve, Comox Valley RD; Garry Nohr, Sunshine Coast RD; Jim Abram (Vice), Strathcona RD; Joe Stanhope, Nanaimo RD; Rob Hutchins, Cowichan Valley RD; Al Huddlestan, Mt. Waddington RD; Sheila Malcolmson, Islands Trust.