By Heather Ramsay-It looks like the islands will have some form of ferry service this summer, following a conference call between community leaders and BC Ferries Tuesday afternoon (April 18).
Queen Charlotte mayor Carol Kulesha said the representatives agreed that the least painful option for the summer is to keep the Queen of Prince Rupert running on a winter schedule, serving both the islands and the route between Prince Rupert and Port Hardy.
“It spreads the pain to everybody,” Ms Kulesha said.
The other two options BC Ferries was considering were to provide service to only the islands, or to provide service to only to the Rupert-Hardy route.
The service to the islands would be augmented with tug and barge for commercial traffic, which would leave all space on the ferry available for passenger traffic. Ms Kulesha says the number of times a week that service would run would have to be fine-tuned.
She has already heard of one industry unsatisfied with this plan: the fish packing companies. They need more frequent service to get fresh fish to market and asked to have space for a couple of trailers on the ferry when it runs.
The options were presented in broad strokes, she said, and BC Ferries is being careful to make sure the Queen of Prince Rupert has some down time in the schedule for servicing.
However, BC Ferries says it has not made a decision about summer service yet. Spokesperson Deborah Marshall said there was no clear resolution from the call and the corporation hopes to have a final answer on summer service within the week.
Meanwhile, the Queen of Prince Rupert left Tsawwassen at 2 pm on April 18, and should be arriving at Skidegate tonight. Three-day-a-week ferry service will resume until May 18. The islands have been without ferry service since the Queen of the North sank March 22.
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