Consultation will be in new year, says Ferries

  • Nov. 19, 2003 8:00 a.m.

BC Ferry Services Inc. officials are planning to visit the Charlottes early next year to hear what islanders have to say about how the Queen of Prince Rupert and Queen of the North will be replaced.
That’s the latest word on the promised consultation, which was originally scheduled to take place in mid-May, then this fall, and has been put off a couple of times since then.
The two northern ferries, as well as the smaller Queen of Chilliwack, must be replaced by 2010 at the latest. According to the agreement between the provincial government and BC Ferry Services, made when the ferry service was turned into a semi-private operation, BC Ferry Services must come up with a “northern services strategy” by April 1.
Does that leave enough time for the people writing the strategy to get the opinions of islanders? BC Ferries communications coordinator Ann Carpenter says yes.
“We’ve been talking to the communities since 2000,” she said. “We already have quite a considerable amount of material together.”
Ms Carpenter said the delay in getting input from islanders – for whom the ferry service is a vital transportation link to the mainland – is due to the fact the BC Ferries has been trying to get the provincial government “onside” with its plans.
What those plans are, we will have to wait until 2004 to see.