Thursday, February 9, 2023
February 9, 2023

Viewpoint: Ferries progress proves advocacy still effective

By DAVID COURTNEY

PATRONS OF ROUTE 6

Gary Holman, our 30-year veteran of local and B.C. politics and recently re-elected CRD director, appears to be amazed at what fellow ratepayers and guests to our community can achieve when we come together as one (“Island’s ferry committee on right track” letter, Dec. 7 Driftwood).

We, the patrons of Route 6, have advocated with passion and persistence since Dec. 22, 2021 for better ferry service and infrastructure on Route 6. Sadly, this has been done without the director’s vociferous support and that of others within his camp.

Released on Sept 30, 2022, BC Ferries’ Performance Term 6 (PT6) submission to the BC Ferries Commissioner included a new two-ferry service for Route 6, along with new terminals at Vesuvius Bay and Crofton targeted for completion by the fall of 2026. This came about through the absolute dogged persistence of a few like-minded patrons who regularly use the route and simply have had enough of the situation on the Vesuvius Bay-Crofton crossing. The current support of 2,216 fellow petitioners and climbing at Change.org is what keeps the campaign alive and well.

It was another good week when we learned that the finalizing of Crofton terminal upgrades, Concept 2 with slight modifications, is well underway. As well, BC Ferries is supposed to hear on Dec. 22 from those shipyards that intend on quoting for the construction of the four Island Class vessels to be built between now and 2026.

What’s next? Continued campaigning to ensure the funding is approved by the BC Ferries Commissioner for the improvements contained in the PT6 submission. In the very near future we intend to conduct an ad hoc survey of the residents and patrons of Route 4 Fulford Harbour to Swartz Bay. We will collate the results and submit them as a comment to BC Ferries’ PT6 prior to the March 31, 2023 deadline for public comment.

Finally as we close out the year 2022, it’s been a great year for advocating. Advocating and persistence still works within our community to affect positive change.

We would be remiss if we didn’t extend our sincerest gratitude to the following supporters: MLA Adam Olsen, past North Cowichan Mayor Al Siebring and now the new Mayor Rob Douglas and council of the Municipality of North Cowichan, the chairs of the Chambers of Commerce of Chemainus, Duncan, Ladysmith and Salt Spring Island, Transportation Minister Rob Fleming, BC Ferries board chair Joy MacPhail and BC Ferries vice president of community engagement and strategy Brian Anderson.

The most important ingredient was our fellow petitioners/supporters, who came together as one. Now that was remarkable and sincerely appreciated.

Happy holidays, everyone!

1 COMMENT

  1. David
    As one who watched your activities over the past year with amazement, I am very proud to be your neighbour and friend. You have tackled a problem which we all observed and complained about, and have turned it around to the benefit of all Salt Spring residents.

    Your initiative will likely lead to interesting times ahead.

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