Denman Islanders just don’t ‘get’ cable ferry proposal

Dear editor,

BC Ferries CEO Corrigan admits that Denman/Hornby’s present ferry service with MV Quinitsa, is “working just fine now.”

Dear editor,

In his recent open letter (Record, Sept. 24) to Denman and Hornby residents regarding the proposed cable ferry, CEO of BC Ferries Mr. Corrigan, admits that Denman/Hornby’s present ferry service with MV Quinitsa, is “working just fine now” and that residents might have difficulty understanding why BCFC would want to convert our service to a cable ferry.

He is correct — we do not understand.

With the cost of the cable ferry now approaching $45 million, about double the original estimates of $24 million, it will soon equal the cost of building a conventional 50-car ferry.

BCFC is also seriously considering a rebuild of the MV Tenaka. Part of the original business case for the cable ferry was the financial advantage of NOT having to replace this versatile vessel.

Mr. Corrigan offers his personal “endorsement” and “support” of the cable ferry project as if this should reassure islanders. Mr. Corrigan and members of “his team” will not have an experimental cable ferry as their primary transportation option imposed on them for four decades.

In fact, there is scant likelihood of Mr. Corrigan or his “team” seeing more than 10 years of this project’s life as employees of BC Ferries, while our communities will be held hostage to their service plans long after they are gone.

BCFC’s inter-operability plan makes every kind of sense for all our communities and does offer sensible long-term options for change as needed.

On Denman Island, BCFC is looking at creating a “one-off” project affecting two island communities, the world’s longest cable ferry, that flies in the face of BCFC’s own inter-operability plan. This makes no sense financially or practically.

How could it have come about that BCFC executives can forge ahead with a project that is utterly rejected by the communities it will affect, yet “provincial oversight” (which as Mr. Corrigan himself has pointed out, BCFC is guided by) completely fails to respond to the concerns of the provincial taxpayers affected?

Two thousand Denman/Hornby and other local ferry users signatures have been gathered on a five-point petition, which will soon be presented to Minister of Transportation Todd Stone.

Mr. Stone should regard the petition as a referendum on the cable ferry project. Will the minister and the provincial government listen?

BCFC’s denial of our island community’s rejection of the project should serve as a warning to all ferry-serviced coastal communities. BCFC (or Mr. Todd Stone?) will soon roll out the plan to reduce service to our coastal communities.

Denman/Hornby’s experience with the cable ferry proposal will be mirrored in every coastal community, they will come and they will talk and they will not listen.

Mr. Todd Stone recently said that he has a “new vision” for BC Ferries. Being from an Interior riding where the free inland ferries are an extension of the highways, coastal communities can only hope that Mr. Stone will deliver provincial support for the vital role that all ferries play in the lives of all B.C. residents.

Laura Pope,

Denman Island

 

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