Ferry service will be on the agenda of the next protocol communities meeting, scheduled for Aug. 1 in Port Clements.
Queen Charlotte mayor Carol Kulesha suggested the agenda item at last week’s protocol meeting, saying the sinking of the Queen of the North and subsequent reduction in ferry service is having a huge impact on the islands.
“There may be some way to work together to help,” she said.
BC Ferries staff have told local politicians that the Prince Rupert-Skidegate route is 95-percent unbooked for the summer, Ms Kulesha said.
No one is sure why there are so many spaces, but it’s vital that islanders get together to address the situation, she said.
Potential visitors may have made other plans during the month after the sinking, when the entire schedule was up in the air and no one knew whether there would be ferry service to the islands this summer, she said.
“There’s a lot of maybes, but people are telling me their business is way down,” Ms Kulesha said.
Queen Charlotte has not yet signed the protocol agreement with the Council of the Haida Nation, but Ms Kulesha and council members Gladys Noddin and Kris Olsen were invited to sit at the table with the other communities during the June 6 meeting in Masset. Sandspit regional district director Travis Glasman, who also represents a community which has not signed the agreement, attended the meeting too.
“Because people haven’t signed protocol agreements doesn’t mean we don’t talk to them,” said CHN vice-president Arnie Bellis, as he invited the Queen Charlotte representatives to the table.
CHN president Guujaaw said he recognizes that Queen Charlotte has been busy getting established as a municipality, and may not have had time to discuss signing the protocol agreement.
“In the meantime, no problem to be involved, all the better,” he told Ms Kulesha.
The protocol community representatives discussed several issues of all-islands interest during the three-hour meeting June 6 in Masset, including negotiations between the CHN and the provincial government, the community viability strategy, alternative energy sources, all-islands governance, and community forest licences.
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