Queen Charlotte Mayor Greg Martin is questioning BC Ferries about the problematic parking situation at the Skidegate ferry terminal.
BC Ferries acquired and expanded the lot last year, but it appears largely empty most of the time, while cars are parked bumper to bumper on the shoulder of the highway.
Village staff sent a photo of the parking situation to the the manager of public affairs at BC Ferries, Darin Guenette, pleading for a solution.
“As you can see,” CAO Lori Wiedeman wrote in an email, “there are cars lined up the road for quite a distance and in the background you can see the empty parking lot for the ferry.
On this particular day, she added, “This is likely due to the All Native, but gives a good example of how dangerous the situation is, especially as there is a trucking company directly across from where the vehicles park and the trucks have challenges pulling in and out. It would really be a huge benefit to the community to have access to park vehicles in the lot.”
In response, Guenette explained the lot is intended for drop trailers only, and that the site is now a secure terminal that is locked up when there is no staff on site. “This would limit customers’ ability to access their vehicles and BC Ferries does not have a manager on site in Skidegate to respond to after-hours calls.
“This may not be welcome news for you, but we hope it provides a good rationale of the issues involved with the Skidegate lot. Essentially, between regulations that require us to keep the lot secure and the need to remain flexible for drop trailer space, there is not an opportunity to allow customers to park at the terminal,”
Mayor Martin appreciated the reply, but said Guenette’s response did not make sense.
“As we have cited before, the reason that we are requesting customer parking in this new, gravel-surfaced parking area is because of the dangerous parking congestion on the edge of the highway. This parking congestion is directly opposite from the busiest trucking terminal on Haida Gwaii. Let’s not wait for a fatal accident and a coroner’s report to address this dangerous situation” Martin said in an email.
Martin pointed out that the area in question is used by only a few drop trailers and sees room for customer parking to be added. He also explained that the only time anyone would need access to their parked car at the Ferry terminal is when the ferry would be running.
“Keeping the lot locked and secure is a bonus for passengers that have sailed away to Prince Rupert or Sandspit. They certainly won’t want to access their vehicle parked in the Skidegate terminal while they are physically in Prince Rupert or Sandspit.
“The customers would likely be so grateful that they wouldn’t mind paying BCF a parking fee,” Martin said.