It seems certain that the provincial government, in tandem with B.C. Ferries, is getting ready to enact serious service cuts to Gulf Islands routes.
We think the open houses aimed at consultation with the public are mere lip service to the notion of having genuinely asked the people what they want.
Let's face it, what they want is no service cuts and lower prices.
But that's not an option that's going to be put on the table.
When you start off the discussion saying you're tens of millions in the hole, you know where the discussion is heading.
We think it's disingenuous to open the "consultation" to everyone, province-wide.
Take a wild guess whether people from the mainland, particularly inland communities, are going to be in favour of spending money on ferry services, or making significant cuts. They are well served by a network of dryland highways. Suggest taking some of those away and perhaps they can empathize with what islanders are facing.
The ferries are part of the highways of the coast. We've always thought they should be funded and maintained as such. Just as islanders help to pay for highways to Whistler, so can mainlanders help pay for ferry service to Saltspring, Penelakut and Thetis islands.
Island residents rely on ferries for work, goods and services.
Rising ferry costs over the last several years have already made living on the Gulf Islands less attractive, and for some not even feasible.
In the case of those living on Penelakut Island, where there are very few services available, ferry rides are even more of a necessity than a choice.
It's our entire island economies that are at stake. We on Vancouver Island have certainly felt the pain of fewer tourists, some of whom have no doubt been turned off by the idea of having to pay big bucks just to get here.
The idea of high fares and less-frequent service paints a bleak picture of the future for island communities.
It's past time ferries were viewed less as optional, and more as the necessity they are. Islanders deserve it.
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