BC Ferries deadline extended

BC Ferries users won't hear about anticipated mass service cuts in June, thanks to a deadline extension.

BC Ferries users won’t hear about those anticipated mass service cuts in June, thanks to a deadline extension pushing the need for decisions into 2014.

The Province and BC Ferries amended their contract in order to extend the deadline to identify service level adjustments from the end of June to March 31, 2014, to allow more time for government to consult with stakeholders.

As part of the amended agreement, the Province will pay BC Ferries an additional $7.1 million this fiscal year, and will look for $18.9 million in savings by 2016 instead of $26 million.

Denman-Hornby Ferry Advisory Committee representative Tony Law has mixed feelings about the deadline extension.

“In a way, it’s a bit unfortunate that things have been left dangling, but certainly more consultation would be good,” says Law, adding the Province’s consultation process last year asked a number of general questions but didn’t look at the specifics of each route when considering how services could be changed to save money.

The consultation process has “been a bit of a waste of money and a waste of time, as evidenced by the fact that the Province has not acted upon the report that was generated,” he adds, noting ferry-dependent communities still don’t know what the future holds in terms of ferry service, which creates uncertainty for them, and their businesses.