A day before a ferry protest at Westview Ferry Terminal, a community group formed to support the environmental, social and economic fabric of Texada Island called for major changes to the BC Coastal Ferry Act the legislation which governs operations of BC Ferries.
Texada Action Now (TAN), representing the concerns of 1,000 island residents, notes that while the ferry corporation is promoting vacation packages which "bring the coast within reach," the reality could not be further from the truth.
"While BC Ferries is paying huge cheques and bonuses to its execs, the cost of using the ferry has gone beyond the reach of many people," said TAN spokesperson Leslie Goresky. "The Coastal Ferry Act needs changes which recognize that ferries are an essential, fundamental transportation link which connects ferry-dependent communities with the outside world. Ferries are our highways and should be funded as such."
TAN also called for the service cutbacks slated for April 1 to be delayed until changes can be made to the act and the elimination of fuel surchages and other added fees which bring ferry fare increases beyond the cost-of-living.
"Ferry fares are killing coastal communities and government is at fault for letting this happen," Goresky said. "There are huge negative impacts to ferry-dependent communities of requiring that 92 per cent of operational costs be recovered at the farebox."
Texada is connected to Powell River by a ferry between Blubber Bay and Westview terminal where protesters are scheduled to gather at 12:30 pm today, Saturday, January 18.