MLA speaks to students

  • Jan. 12, 2011 4:00 p.m.

North Coast MLA Gary Coons made an impromptu visit to a few classrooms here last week, including a group of grade 7 students who are hoping to visit the Legislature in Victoria this spring. Mr. Coons, who attended several other events on the islands, explained his job in the riding and in Victoria and took questions from the students. The best question, he said, was about overheight charges on BC Ferries. Mr. Coons says this is a topic he has been researching heavily and he’s discovered it is an “outrageous cash cow.” He said he will be sending The Observer more details soon, but basically, the overheight charges boost ferry fares for some vehicles and drop trailers by 75 to 114 percent. They have been cancelled on southern routes, but in the north, BC Ferries is continuing “the cash grab.” He also attended Haida Gwaii Agricultural Strategy meetings in Skidegate and Old Massett. “I think it’s very timely, as we start looking at the cost of produce and agricultural products that come onto the island. The vision has to be self-sustaining for the future,” he said. The cost of oil is going up and BC Ferries is projecting fare increases of 40 per cent over the next four to five years, he said. “The time for education is now,” he said. Awareness of how to grow food and pinpointing good agricultural land on the islands is essential. He wants to push for a system where the community can earn carbon credits for reducing the transportation footprint of bringing in produce. Mr. Coons also attended the regalia opening at the Kay Centre on Friday night (Jan. 7), then spent the night in Sandspit and had a breakfast meeting with locals.

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