Ferry report a ‘waste of time, money’: Gary Coons

  • Mar. 13, 2013 8:00 p.m.

Island mayors were not impressed with the coastal ferries report released last week. “It didn’t really address any of the concerns, the main thing that came out of it is that they need more consultation,” said Masset mayor Andrew Merilees. “It was a bit of a wasted effort, it cost a lot of money and we’re no further ahead getting an answer, and I don’t think we’re going to get an answer before the next election anyway.” The report was released by the Ministry of Transportation and Infrastructure on March. 5 and summarized the results of an eight-week public consultation process, which held 40 public consultation meetings in 30 communities in the fall (including Sandspit, Queen Charlotte and Masset), and cost $600,000 to complete. The report contained no new information, said Port Clements mayor Wally Cheer, “the consultation process was long and laborious with very little information to work on. People who participated in the consultation process don’t want reduced sailings or reduced service. It didn’t give me a lot of meat to chew on.” “Those who use the ferry system know that user costs are too high and that decreasing service is not a realistic option. Up and down the coast, the Ferry Commissioner received the same message. It may not be the message government wants to hear but more studies will not change the message,” said Queen Charlotte mayor Carol Kulesha. Former NDP critic for BC Ferries, MLA Gary Coons also said the report was disappointing. “There’s no recommendations that came from it, it was just a summary of the meetings,” he said and described it as “a waste of time, a waste of money and just window dressing.” “From the report I think there were over four thousand people that responded and two thousand people who attended, to get a summary of what they said, I think is hugely disappointing. With nothing happening until after the election, it was just window dressing, waiting for the next election.” Mr. Coons said he was interested to note that the government now says that BC Ferries needs a long-term vision, something he tried to make happen years ago, by introducing a motion in the legislature.