The leaders of eleven coastal regional districts and the Islands Trust, together representing 70% of the British Columbian population, met with Premier Clark and Minister of Transportation and Infrastructure Blair Lekstrom in Vancouver on Tuesday, September 27th to continue their collaborative work to improve the coastal ferry service.
"The meeting with the Premier and Minister Lekstrom was very positive and was an excellent example of the regional governments of coastal B.C. coming together in one voice to tell the Premier that major improvements to the coastal ferry service are an imperative," said Colin Palmer, Chair of the Powell River Regional District and Chair of the Coastal RD Chairs group.
"We are confident that the Premier heard that the coastal ferry service is our marine highway and that the three million British Columbians we represent need it fixed as soon as possible."
Joe Stanhope, Chair of the Regional District of Nanaimo, said, "The Coastal RD Chairs are looking forward to the release of the BC Ferry Commissioner's review of ferry fares and appreciate the expansion of the Commissioner's mandate to now include ferry users, rather than just the economic viability of the BC Ferries Corporation.
"Our group considers this review, and our continuing commitment to represent the interests of the even larger group of all coastal residents and visitors, will assist the Premier and Minister Lekstrom in some tough, but critically important, decisions in the very near future."
Jim Abram, Vice Chair of the Strathcona Regional District, was encouraged by the Premier's commitment to meet with the Coastal RD Chairs group again after the BC Ferry Commissioner's review is released.
"We are encouraged by the Premier's support for our continuing work to improve the coastal ferry service on behalf of 70% of all British Columbians," he said.
"This is a major issue to local families and to the economic viability of all coastal communities in British Columbia. The Premier is now even more aware of the absolute necessity to restore our marine highway to affordability in the provision of this critical public service."
Participating coastal Regional District and Islands Trust representatives include the following:
Jim Abram, Vice –Chair, Strathcona Regional District
Edwin Grieve, Chair, Comox Valley Regional District
Al Huddlestan, Chair, Waddington Regional District
Christine Hyde, Chair, Central Coast Regional District
Lois Jackson, Chair, Metro Vancouver
Sheila Malcolmson, Chair, Islands Trust
Gary Nohr, Chair, Sunshine Coast Regional District
Colin Palmer, Chair, Powell River Regional District
Joe Stanhope, Chair, Regional District of Nanaimo
Glen Wong, Chair, Alberni-Clayquot Regional District
Geoff Young, Chair, Capital Regional District