Vancouver Sun

Northern routes suffer from cuts


Re: B.C. Ferries beefing up southern island routes, July 12

In 1958 Premier W.A.C. Bennet recognized the need for a continued reliable ferry service under the mandate of the provincial government. When I first arrived on Texada Island in 1972, our ferries were classified as part of the highway system. Unfortunat­ely, B.C. Ferries, privatized in 2003, has downgraded service on all of the northern runs to the detriment of the coastal economies. The corporatio­n is pursuing nonresiden­t travel dollars with the creation of their “coastal getaways” in an attempt to re-image the fleet as “cruise” ships rather than the original highways they were intended for.

Commerce and tourism depend on good transporta­tion links that are reliable and timely. B.C. Ferries management has the Queen of Burn- aby (Comox-Powell River) in dry dock at the peak of tourist season with the North Island Princess (Texada) filling the gap on the Sunshine Coast right after needing a tugboat to ensure her ability to cross the water — and in the middle of a weekend on Texada that draws as many tourists to our island as the people who live here.

Northern rural economies, have always had challenges with freight cost and location. The privatizat­ion of our ferries can be summed up in the bumper sticker “B.C. Ferries, Sinking Coastal Economies.” I suggest the coast is the tourism jewel of B.C. If you do not support the local resident population­s, the businesses that attract tourism cannot survive the off-season. Leslie Goresky, Texada

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