Gabriola FAC has submitted its response to the government’s Coastal Ferries Community Engagement 2013, branding the so-called “community engagement” process as deeply flawed. Presented as a vehicle for public consultation, in reality it has exposed a political decision that was arrived at using questionable evidence, no socio-economic impact assessment and having no regard to the effect it would have on the lives, employment and businesses of gulf islanders.
The FAC is calling for government to:
- Go back to the drawing board and design a system that separates the management and delivery of the large routes from that of the small routes. Treat the small routes as what they are: a commuter service no different than any other public transportation service that links communities in the same way that the Sky Train, the highway system, and public transit do in other communities.
- Fund local ferry services with the primary costs being born by the provincial government through the provision of annual funding increases that keep fares at an affordable level.
- Engage with coastal communities to design the service that best meets the unique needs of each community.
- Instead of Ferry Advisory Committees whose advice is so frequently disregarded, create a governance capacity at the local level for each service route or cluster of routes that engages the ferry operator, local government and community organizations in planning the delivery of service.
We are grateful to everyone in the community for their contributions to this important debate. The Ferry Advisory Committee submission can be downloaded here: