Lucas Schuller really hopes his daughter Hazel won’t have limited freedom of travelling around the province because of rising ferry prices or camping costs.
Right now, for him and his partner Jamie Ashurst, the rising costs of living in B.C. — particularly on Vancouver Island — is affecting their day-to-day budgeting decisions.
“With camping and ferry fees, in the past it really wasn’t something we considered. Now we have to budget if we can really afford to visit grandma.”
The Merville couple attended a mid-afternoon meeting Monday at the Zocalo Cafe in Courtenay to talk with provincial NDP leader John Horgan who has been touring the province talking with families about affordability.
“I want to know what are the consequences of a balanced budget. People are living paycheque to paycheque, and everything is going up like MSP premiums, ICBC and ferry rates,” he said.
Horgan explained he is asking families where they need a break, and hopes to bring the issues back to the legislature.
While he acknowledged the Liberal government’s recent increase in minimum wage, Horgan was quick to point out that “20 cents is ridiculous.”
While he said increasing the minimum wage to $15/hr may be a ways away, he added his goal is to make sure to open a dialogue between the government and businesses.
Calling himself a ‘born and raised Islander,’ Horgan noted the public should have a direct connection with BC Ferries, and not through a ferry commissioner.
“The government needs to recognize (the ferries) are part of the highway system,” he added. “Making it unaffordable is not a positive outcome for the Island community.”
Schuller, who works at the Cumberland Museum and Ashurst, who works as a teacher-on-call, said he feels Horgan is listening to and giving young families hope against rising costs within the province.
“All bills have to be paid, but coming from Ontario, the MSP premiums were a bit of a shock; we didn’t anticipate that,” explained Schuller. “It’s things like that which should be easily addressed by government.”