With the three-year term almost complete for current Ferry Advisory Committee members, B.C. Ferries will be taking nominations this fall for a new group of representatives.
The current 12-member committee represents island communities dependent on minor-route ferry services and is appointed in cooperation with local governments, Islands Trust and First Nations. The communities of Brentwood Bay and Mill Bay have asked that their route also be represented, so a 13th seat will be added to the committee in January.
Darin Guenette, manager for public affairs for B.C. Ferries, said current members are welcome to reapply but won’t automatically be reappointed.
“We tie these terms to the municipal election cycle. The idea is that these committees have a cross section of representation from within the communities that we’re serving,” said Guenette. “[Municipal elections] provide us with an opportunity to reshuffle our committees. It’s a clean-slate process but we pretty much approve just about anybody in the community that clears the screening process and shows interest and availability.”
FAC members are volunteers, but B.C. Ferries covers expenses incurred by committee functions.
The FAC was established in 1993 to discuss day-to-day operations, planned changes and policy issues with B.C. Ferries.
Formal meetings, which take place twice a year, enable the corporation to better understand the needs of communities at a grass roots level and adjust services to accommodate those needs.
“On one route we were about to install new seats on the ferry that goes between Campbell River and Quadra Island and had planned to place them facing front and aft as we usually do,” said Guenette. “We learned the passengers like to look inward to socialize on that particular route. It didn’t cost anything extra so we made it happen.
“We use the representatives to gauge what’s going on in the community and what the pulse of the people is. It’s a two-way communication platform.”
B.C. Ferries will put a call out for nominations in September and October and appointments will be approved in December.
The committee will likely resume sometime in January and serve until December 2014.