VICTORIA – A public consultation and engagement process on the future of coastal ferry service in British Columbia will start today and run until Dec. 21. A public open house meeting is scheduled on Gabriola on Tuesday, November 13 from 6-9pm at The Haven.
Transportation and Infrastructure Minister Mary Polak announced the consultation process today as part of the B.C. government’s commitment to open government and in response to a recent review by the independent BC ferry commissioner.
The Review of the Coastal Ferry Act indicated that ferry users, the ferry operator and the B.C. government all need to be part of the solution to address the challenges facing the coastal ferry system in British Columbia.
Faced with declining ridership and rising costs, the B.C. government is asking for public input to inform decisions about service adjustments that will ensure coastal ferry services are sustainable and able to meet the unique needs of coastal communities. The Ministry of Transportation and Infrastructure, working with BC Ferries, is seeking public input on the principles that should guide decisions about service adjustments, as well as comments and suggestions on a long-term vision for an affordable and sustainable coastal ferry service.
The ministry is providing several opportunities for public consultation and engagement. All consultation and engagement meetings will be open to the public, and a series of small group meetings and open houses will take place in several communities. In addition, a discussion guide and feedback form will be available at the meetings and online. Information about how to participate can be found at: http://www.coastalferriesengagement.ca
Mary Polak, Minister of Transportation and Infrastructure —
“We have a world-class ferry system in British Columbia and taxpayer contributions to our coastal ferry service are at an all-time high of $180 million this year. This open public consultation process will ensure that coastal communities, ferry users and taxpayers all have the opportunity to inform decisions about service adjustments that will ensure we have a sustainable, affordable and efficient ferry service.”
Gord Macatee, BC ferry commissioner —
“I’m really pleased to see this consultation get underway so the public can provide input into a long-term vision for BC Ferries. This is what our report recommended, and I commend the government for taking this on in such a transparent fashion. I look forward to hearing the results.”
Mike Corrigan, BC Ferries president and CEO —
“We at BC Ferries believe that the consultation and engagement process is an essential step in ensuring that the coastal ferry system remains viable in the long term, with the necessary flexibility to meet the changing needs of our customers.”
BC Ferries Consultation: http://www.coastalferriesengagement.ca
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