Ferry names “disappointing”, says MLA

  • Dec. 15, 2006 1:00 p.m.

“Disappointing” and “insignificant” – that’s how North Coast MLA Gary Coons is reacting to BC Ferries’ picks for names for two northern ferries. BC Ferries announced Friday that it will rename the MV Sonia – the used ferry that it bought in Greece to replace the sunken Queen of the North – the Northern Adventure. The new ship which will replace the Queen of the Prince Rupert in the spring of 2009 will be called the Northern Expedition. “I am disappointed in the new names,” Mr. Coons told the Observer shortly after the announcement. “It’s apparent that those at the top of the corporate chain are not in touch with the many British Columbians who felt the vessel should be named after the heroes of Hartley Bay.” Mr. Coons blasted BC Ferries for not holding a contest as it did when coming up with names for the new Super C class ferries in the south. It’s just another example of how the north is treated differently, he said. In addition, Northern Adventure and Northern Expedition are names that reflect the tourist experience, not the experience of regular ferry riders. “Up here, the names just get unilaterally picked by (BC Ferries chief executive) David Hahn and his board of directors,” he said. “I think to most users, ferry users on the north coast, they are insignificant names.” In Hartley Bay, eagle clan hereditary chief Ernie Hill said the new names were a surprise, but he didn’t care too much one way or another about the issue, and was not especially attached to having the new vessel named in honour of Hartley Bay. “I would have been more excited if they said they were going to pump the oil out of the Queen of the North,” Mr. Hill said. “If the Queen of the North lets go altogether, we’ve got a major catastrophe.” Oil leaking from the sunken vessel is a huge concern for the community, which relies on gathering traditional foods like shellfish, he said. Since the sinking, DFO has advised residents not to harvest clams nearby, he said.

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