Future of Coastal Ferries: We Want to Hear from You

What does the future of coastal ferries look like? No really, we’re asking you.

We’ve begun public meetings in those communities directly impacted by coast ferry service, including Pender Island, Salt Spring Island and Nanaimo, to get your input and ideas.

There was a review earlier this year by the independent BC Ferry Commissioner highlighting some serious financial challenges like declining ridership and falling revenue. The commissioner specifically recommended the government, BC Ferries, ferry users and the public be part of the solution.

Skidegate Ferry Terminal

What do we want to hear from you about? We’d like your suggestions on how to achieve $26 million in savings to 2016 and input on the long-term vision for coastal ferry services in BC that will keep our ferries affordable, efficient and sustainable.

There are several opportunities for public consultation and engagement, including a series of small group meetings and open houses taking place in 30 communities. Discussion guides and feedback forms will be available at the meetings and online or you can get copies at municipal offices, libraries and First Nations band offices in coastal communities.

Here are first announced of meetings and open houses, held in the following locations:

Gabriola Island
Tuesday, November 13
6-9 p.m. Public Open House at The Haven

Penelakut
Wednesday, November 14
12-3 p.m. Public Open House at the Adult Learning Centre

Pender Island
Wednesday, November 14
5-8 p.m. Public Open House at Pender Island Community Hall

Thetis Island
Wednesday, November 14
5-8 p.m. Public Open House at Thetis Island Forbes Community Hall

Salt Spring Island
Thursday, November 15
9-11 a.m. Small Group Meeting at the Harbour House Hotel
2-4 p.m. Small Group Meeting at the Harbour House Hotel
6-9 p.m. Public Open House at the Harbour House Hotel

Nanaimo
Thursday, November 15
1-3 p.m. Small Group Meeting at the Coast Bastion Inn
9-11 a.m. Small Group Meeting at the Coast Bastion Inn
6-9 p.m. Public Open House at the Coast Bastion Inn

Galiano Island
Saturday, November 17
12-3 p.m. Public Open House at Galiano Community Hall

To attend a small group meeting, please email coastalferriesengagement@gov.bc.ca or call toll-free at 1 855 387-7882. You don’t have to RSVP. The first half of the meetings will be an open house, with the second half as a question-and-answer session.

A couple of quick BC Ferry facts to get you thinking:

  • Last year, most BC Ferries routes operated below 50 per cent capacity on average.
  • Government funding is currently more than $180 million – $150 million from the Province and $30 million from the federal government.
  • Total taxpayer contribution through to 2016 is almost $800 million.

The consultation will be held until December 21st. Hope to hear from you, whether at the open houses or online.

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