Gabriola Island residents wary of B.C. Ferries’ service options

The B.C. government has started the process to plan the future of the ferry system.

To the Editor,

The B.C. government has started the process of consultation with island communities, in an attempt to plan the future of the ferry system.

The choice of consultant should be complete sometime in July.

The government has recently amended the Coastal Ferry Act to include all options – including, bridge alternatives – to replace increasingly expensive ferry systems.

The last survey of the attitutudes of Gabriola Island residents to transportation choices pegged dissatisfaction with the present situation of high costs at more than  50 per cent, and 35 per cent of Gabriolans would prefer a bridge instead.

The Gabriola ferry run loses money and the province is displaying concern about its ability to cover future costs. The upcoming public discussion of our future needs will include reductions in service, as many runs are almost empty, so our choice will be reduction of service, increased costs or a bridge.

I wonder what the choices for Salt Spring Island residents will be, because they have three ferry services and six terminals to service their needs? Will Salt Spring have a single bridge alternative to three ferries to choose from?

We must ensure that the upcoming survey of our opinions are conducted with a private ballot like in an election to avoid name calling and disparaging remarks.

Maybe we can ask for a second ferry service, direct to Vancouver, like Salt Spring Island has? Would not that be fair?

Jeremy Baker

Gabriola Island