Municipal officials want lower ferry fees, more service

  • Sep. 29, 2014 6:00 a.m.

By Shaun Thomas–Elected officials from across the province have unanimously voted to reduce fees and restore service aboard BC Ferries. The Union of British Columbia Municipalities (UBCM) voted this morning to support a report that recommended the provincial government rollback fares and service levels to 2013 levels before sailings were reduced to save the company money and undertake a comprehensive impact study. “I was thrilled with the vote, but I wasn’t surprised. I think it shows that all of the municipalities in the province recognize the importance of having a functioning transportation system and that includes the ferry service,” said Masset Mayor Andrew Merilees. “I would like to see the province implement the recommendations and look at the deep systemic problems of BC Ferries and work with communities that rely on the ferry system tome up with a solution that gives those communities what they need while not harming the provincial economy.” Those sentiments were echoed by Queen Charlotte Mayor Carol Kulesha. “I think it’s wonderful. One thing the province has used to justify increasing fares is the fact that people across B.C.do ot want to support more money for ferries, but here at UBCM it had everyone’s support,” she said.The vote was taken following the release of a policy paper indicating rising ferry fares have resulted in a $2.3 billion loss to the B.C. economy. It’s a report that found favour among those at the UBCM meeting, but one Transportation Minister Todd Stone, who wasted no time in saying a fare rollback wasn’t going to happen, blasted as being inaccurate and misleading.  But he said he won’t overrule the independent ferry commissioner and force a reduction in fares.”That’s not going to happen,” Stone said, adding he also firmly rejected a call from coastal communities to raise taxes to increase ferry subsidies.Instead, he said, fare restraint must come from innovation and efficiencies that will deliver savings that can be reinvested in the ferry system.”Leaders in coastal communities are going to have to work with us and embrace a number of other ideas, which could include alternative technologies, fixed links, alternative fuels, passenger-only ferries in complement to vehicle ferries – a wide range of ideas we’ve thrown out there.”

Just Posted

Bachrach nominated by NDP for federal election

The Smithers mayor won on the first ballot with 446 of 797 votes

Haida Gwaii and Bella Bella organizations receive funding for arts and culture

The Community Resilience Through Arts and Culture funded 83 organizations across B.C. this year

Haida UBC grad awarded prestigious academic honour

Law school next on Chelsea Gladstone’s ‘to do’ list

Fire ban back in effect for Northwest Fire Centre region

Starting May 24, both Category 2 and Category 3 prohibitions will be in place

This summer Masset RCMP will give positive tickets to youths

More than a dozen community partners are involved in encouraging good behaviour once school is out

Police say it’s “impressive” no arrests were made after Raptors celebrations

Toronto will play the Western Conference champion Golden State Warriors next

Social media giants in hot seat as politicians consider regulations in Ottawa

Committee members will also grill representatives from Facebook, Twitter

Wildfire crews watching for dangerous wind shift in High Level, Alta.

The Chuckegg Creek fire is raging out of control about three kilometres southwest of the town

UN urges Canada to take more vulnerable Mexican migrants from Central America

The request comes as the United States takes a harder line on its Mexican border

Mistrial declared in Jamie Bacon murder plot trial

Bacon was on trial for counselling to commit the murder of Person X

B.C. VIEWS: Money-laundering melodrama made for TV

Public inquiry staged to point fingers before 2021 election

Canadian homebuyers escaping high housing costs by moving to secondary cities

In British Columbia, exurbs have grown in the Hope Valley and Kamloops

Feds lay out proposed new rules for voice, video recorders in locomotives

Transport Canada wants to limit use of recorders to if a crew’s actions led to a crash

Most Read