John Hodgkins, who has chaired Gabriola FAC since 2012, is stepping down from the role ahead of the forthcoming FAC meeting in November. A new Chair will be elected at that meeting.
For the past two years, John has divided his time between Gabriola and his family home in the UK, and he plans to move back there permanently in 2018. He will continue to participate in the work of the FAC for the remainder of its current term.
John will continue to oversee the FAC website which he introduced in 2012 “to give the FAC much greater community focus”. He joined the FAC at a time when the whole of the previous committee had stepped down ‘en bloc’ and there was a clear lack of engagement with the wider community on the island. “Using the website and social media has brought the work of the FAC much closer to the community, giving its members the confidence that they can properly represent the community’s needs in their dialogue with BC Ferries” he said this week.
John said “Over the past few years I’ve had terrific support from colleagues on the FAC and I’m especially grateful to Steven Earle who agreed to co-chair the committee whenever I’ve been away over the past couple of years”
“The Ferry Advisory Committee is, as the name implies, purely advisory – and although we are nominally appointed by BC Ferries, its role is to ensure that the interests of Gabriolans are communicated to BC Ferries whenever the need arises. If that means calling BC Ferries to account for doing something that has caused problems to the community, then so be it” he said. “BC Ferries managers have respect for FACs that can present them with factual evidence rather than relying on political inertia and a reluctance to accept change.”
“It’s particularly important for any FAC to gain the confidence of BCF management and to understand the constraints within which the corporation is required to operate – but that doesn’t mean that the FAC cannot challenge their decisions if we have the facts to support that challenge.”
“Having a career in transportation management in both public and private sector taught me that commercial organisations will always set their direction based on the anticipated financial outcome, but they are not always as close to understanding the needs of their customers as they might think. It’s the job of the FAC to try and convince BCF managers to do things differently, and sometimes that’s no easy task”
“Good luck to the committee in their endeavours!”