Masset residents speak out against ferry cuts

  • Dec. 5, 2013 9:00 a.m.

The Ferries community engagement process finished its meetings on Haida Gwaii on Wednesday evening, with a meeting attended by well over 100 people in Masset.Andrew Merilees, mayor of MassetWe are sitting here in this room. Are you going to be actually hearing us? The community doesn’t really feel you heard what the community had to say (last year). We will not accept those (cuts) until the BC Ferry system is fixed. Haida Gwaii could be without fresh produce and dairy for a week, with just one ferry. Mr. Merilees noted islanders are already putting up with several substandard government services, including mail and health care, and added that the opportunity for tourism to expand and grow will be totally wiped out.BC Ferries has been a dismal failure. BC Ferries needs to increase ridership, not make it more expensive.The economic health of our community is linked to a strong transportation link with the rest of the province.We will not accept any of these changes.Keifer Collison, CHNWe are absolutely opposed and extremely frustrated. Your proposed cuts are making our situation even worse. Our people deserve better.The CHN will get political. You have not heard the last of us.Hank TaggartI feel that employee and family members should pay their own share of the ferries. I feel this would cover a lot of the deficit now being faced by BC Ferries.Barry PagesYour biggest cost is amortization. n the (free) interior) ferries, you are not paying for amortization. The bottom line is the coastal ferry system is our highway. The government moving the ferry system into a corporation has failed miserably. Ray Charles can see that.Alan WilsonIf you want to save $5 million, you can cut (the former CEO’s) pension by $1 million. There, you’ve saved $12 million already.Fran ReddickYears ago the ferry was proposed…to come into Masset. Have you done any consideration of the ferry coming in to Masset? It’s time the province realized we need something back.Elizabeth StewartWe used to go off every year. As time progressed, the ferry fares went so high that we can no longer afford to go. Every year it gets more expensive and more expensive. We rely on this ferry. Anything less than three times a week is going to be unacceptable. Please don’t take away what we already have now.Sharon MatthewsI ask you not to get a smaller ferry. We need a boat that we know is safe. You need to do more research to make these decisions. You are going to cutback our way of living to save $6 million. Please look at our way of life before making these snap decision.Ken ReaThis island is going through the biggest economic transition we have ever faced. The jobs are going away. We are not getting any government support. In Masset, it’s just a courthouse and a cop shop. And the only thought to make it work is reduce services? Government needs to have a real look at BC Ferries and who is running that show. What’s happening here (this meeting) is not the solution.You are going to create a crisis here that is unheard of anywhere in Canada. A little more creative thinking is needed here, and some real thinking.John DisneyYou are trying to fix a problem that is not fixable.We need to look at BC Ferries as just a piece of an entire BC family or picture. When does the province realize the enormous (amount of) wealth they have sucked off these islands. We should be able to go to Rupert and back for $40 with a car.Marina JonesI am just maybe a little bit mad. I never went to university. This (booklet outlining the cuts) should have been brought to our community ahead of time for us to study. Ms Jones said she is addicted to bingo and thinks putting gambling on the ferry “crazy”.Don’t put something on there that is going to continue to destroy our families.We are sitting on the Titanic. We are low class citizens. You may have made your decision. Have you listened to our people. N. O. That spells no. No, no, no. no ,no.Don’t cut those ferries. It’s D. O. N. T. Don’t cut those ferries.Natanis HagemanYou need to give us a regional solution that takes into account our resources. We feed you guys.Jennifer Rice, MLAThe way this process had been unfolded is insulting to the people of BC. Having top executive bonuses rolled into their base salaries, that’s just disgraceful in itself. Then the following week, announce these drastic cuts that are going to hurt poor people. It’s just an absolute disgrace. it is disrespectful to people.Jim HollandIt’s really disgusting to see the fares go up. I know it would not work if you did it for every resident of BC. This is really crap.At the end of the meeting, Andrew Merilees thanked the consultants for coming to Masset, and said “this is not the end”. He urged residents to write to the Minister of Transportation Todd Stone and to Premier Christy Clark, and to fill out the feedback forms provided by the consultants. The community engagement process moved to Prince Rupert last Friday, and wraps up Dec. 11 on Thetis Island.