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BC Ferries' meetings scheduled at Powell River Town Centre Hotel

Northern Sunshine Coast Ferry Advisory Committee chair requests residents drop in and provide thoughts regarding service
ATTENDANCE REQUESTED: Northern Sunshine Coast Ferry Advisory Committee will be hosting a committee meeting and community drop-in session with BC Ferries officials in attendance. Residents are prompted to attend the meeting to share their thoughts on the ferry service.

qathet region residents are urged to attend the Northern Sunshine Coast Ferry Advisory Committee meeting and community drop-in on September 21.

According to Kim Barton-Bridges, the ferry advisory committee chair, the public has an opportunity at meetings to observe, and if someone wants to speak to a certain issue, they have five minutes to do so.

“There’s a half hour allocated for that,” said Barton-Bridges.

The committee meets twice yearly and Barton-Bridges wants to make sure people with concerns about the ferry service have the opportunity to voice them in front of BC Ferries officials.

“People can get in touch with me first,” said Barton-Bridges. She can be contacted directly at for more information regarding the meeting agenda, speaking opportunities, or to receive the link to attend the meeting, which will be held at Powell River Town Centre Hotel. 

The ferry advisory committee meeting will be from 3 to 5:30 pm; there will also be a community drop-in from 6:30 to 8:30 pm.

Barton-Bridges said the $500 million given to BC Ferries by the province has helped fares remain affordable over the next few years. She said the funds are not addressing the fact that the ships are not adequate and terminals are in disrepair.

“The system is a mess,” said Barton Bridges. “I just want people to know they should come out.”

According to a BC Ferries advertisement for the meeting, delivering the best service to coastal communities means knowing what is important to those who live, work and play in them each day. Residents are prompted to drop by the open house to chat with the BC Ferries team about topics which are most important to them.

Cancelled crossings

Barton-Bridges said one important topic is ferry cancellations for the three-month period ending in June. She said she has looked up statistics for cancellations, and the Brentwood Bay to Mill Bay sailing is the highest in terms of percentages, but she added that people can always travel that route through the Malahat as an alternative route.

“Out of all the minor routes, Little River to Powell River had a three per cent sailing cancellation, and that’s the next largest number,” said Barton-Bridges, who said cancellations for Campbell River to Quathiaski Cove on Quadra Island were similar. “It’s certainly problematic. We need to get pretty angry about that.”

The bulk of cancellations were due to crewing issues, said Barton-Bridges. Weather was a substantially lesser cause of ferry cancellations, she added.

“Crewing is a big issue,” said Barton-Bridges. “It begs the question of whether BC Ferries is sending our crews to other routes because they are more important.”

Regarding Texada Island, there is significant growth in the number of students, and with the doctor retiring, there are more visits to Powell River for medical reasons. Barton-Bridges said there are already overloads on afternoon sailings. After the last ferry advisory committee meeting in February, the committee made a significant service request for additional service.

“On the significant service request document, BC Ferries commits to a response within 90 days,” said Barton-Bridges. “That was submitted in May and we’ve heard nothing.

Communication conundrum

Barton-Bridges said communication from BC Ferries is bad and the matter will be on the agenda of the ferry advisory committee meeting.

“They set up means for us to request a service and commit to having a response in time and they can’t even communicate,” said Barton-Bridges. “Everything is falling on deaf ears. BC Ferries needs to identify the problems and solve them. We need to make more noise.”

Barton-Bridges said in addition to the ferry advisory committee meeting, there will be a visioning exercise forthcoming.

“What we want to start talking about is the two boards, the BC Ferry services board and the services authority are working together this fall on a visioning exercise,” said Barton-Bridges. “They will be going out to stakeholders, members of the community and the ferry advisory committees, to develop a long-term plan and figure out what the priorities are because currently, nothing is sustainable. System-wide, it’s a disaster.

“I actually got up and spoke at the BC Ferries annual general meeting because there was a visioning exercise in 2019, and I travelled over to Vancouver Island for it because they didn’t have anything here, and spent a lot of time doing surveys and speaking to consultants. Nothing tangible came from it.”

Barton-Bridges said it’s important to let people know the exercise is coming, that BC Ferries will be coming into communities, and there will be an opportunity for people to give their views on what is important and the priorities.

If Texada residents want to attend the September 21 meetings, they will be given ferry vouchers for their trips.

BC Ferries suggests that residents visit online community pages to provide questions, comments and ideas. The pages are at and For more information, contact

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