Port Clements Council concerned about ferry fares

  • Jan. 9, 2008 11:00 a.m.

Port Clements village council is concerned about how much it’s going to cost to travel on BC Ferries in the future. Council members voted Monday night (Jan. 7) to write a letter to BC Ferries expressing their concern, after looking at a table showing exactly how much fares have risen in the past five years and how much they will be going up in the future. The fares were calculated by the chairs of the Ferry Advisory Committees, groups of local route users. For example, the cost to travel between Skidegate and Alliford Bay has gone up by 35 percent since 2003 for a package of 10 prepaid car and driver tickets, and by almost 39 percent for prepaid passenger tickets, not including fuel surcharges. By April 2011, it will cost $23.74 for two adults and a vehicle to take the Kwuna if they use a prepaid ticket, compared to $10.60 in 2003. That’s a 124 percent increase in eight years. Council members had other concerns about BC Ferries, which they asked mayor Cory Delves to raise at the next regional district meeting. Councillor Urs Thomas said he was planning to travel to the mainland last weekend, when service ended up being cancelled because the Northern Adventure was stranded in Bella Bella with contaminated oil. It was hard to get information about when the ferry would be back in service, he said. He ended up not going because the ferry was so late. When he was talking to someone from BC Ferries about his reservation, she was going to charge him a cancellation fee for not travelling, and had to check with a supervisor before waiving it. Mr. Delves said it’s also difficult for islanders who end up stranded on the mainland during service suspensions – not only is it inconvenient but they have to pay the costs out of their own pocket. Mr. Thomas said he wants islanders to start lobbying now for BC Ferries to keep the Northern Adventure on the Port Hardy-Prince Rupert run, and put the brand new ferry which is scheduled to arrive in 2009 on the Skidegate-Rupert run. The Northern Adventure is hardly suited to Hecate Strait, he said, and has made people seasick even in relatively calm waters.