I’m confused about BC Ferries’ response to Denman Island’s opposition to their stealth operation to cut 140 mature trees to expand the Gravelly Bay terminal parking lot.
Islanders admit that terminal parking needs to be expanded, but that they were not consulted about options.
I am confused because a BCF spokesperson characterized the protest as “stalling” a work order rather than a legitimate call for engagement in a company decision that affects our community profoundly.
BCF explicitly states in its 2021 Engagement Policy Review that they are committed to consultation with the Indigenous and coastal communities about decisions that impact them. There was no consultation.
Islanders learned of BCF’s plan to remove so many mature trees when an outside contractor started marking those for removal and moving in heavy equipment.
Further, repeated calls to BCF to halt the job to allow time for community engagement were ignored. BCF did not respond until an anonymous source advised hiring a lawyer to write a formal request for community consultation.
As a result of media coverage and a well-organized protest, BCF finally agreed to halting removing the trees.
However, Islanders will continue protesting at the terminal site until they receive a letter from BCF agreeing to put into action their commitment to listen carefully, consider all feedback— safety, financial, operational, environmental— and adapt decision-making during the engagement process.
Until this consultation occurs, we should all be confused about the disconnect between BSF policy and BSF actions.