The provincial government has started the process of consultation with island communities, in an attempt to plan the future of the ferry system. The choice of consultant should be complete sometime in July.
The government has very recently amended the Coastal Ferry Act to include all options, including bridge alternatives, to replace increasingly expensive ferry systems.
The last survey of Gabriolan attitudes to transportation choices, pegged dissatisfaction with the present situation of high costs, at over 50 per cent, and 35 per cent of Gabriolans would prefer a bridge instead.
The Province is displaying concern about its ability to cover future costs. The Gabriola run loses money. The upcoming public discussion of our future needs will include reductions in service, as many runs are almost empty, so our choice will be: reduction of service, increased costs or a bridge.
I wonder what the choices for Salt Spring Island will be. They have three ferry services and six terminals to service their needs. Will Salt Spring Island have a single bridge alternative to three ferries to choose from? Visualise three ferries and six terminals for 10,000 citizens!
We must ensure that the upcoming survey of our opinions, are conducted with a private ballot like in an election, to avoid name calling and disparaging remarks.
Maybe we can ask for a second ferry service, direct to Vancouver, like Salt Spring Island has? Would not that be fair? The Southern Gulf Island runs loose millions of dollars per year, and a large per cent of it is on the Salt Spring ferries.
Of course we could replace our ferry, on poorly utilised runs, with cheaper foot passenger only ferries to save money.
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