This is an edited version of an open letter sent to BC Ferries executives and provincial leaders.
I am writing to implore you to address the ongoing communications inadequacies and service disruptions on the Langdale to Horseshoe Bay route.
I have been a resident of Gibsons for 48 years. Never before these past two years can I recall significant service disruptions and never before this time due to staffing issues. In the past year we began occasional disruptions and they have been increasing over the past few months.
A notice went out on Jan. 1, threatening the cancellation of 18 critical sailings over two consecutive days. Thankfully, a second notice was put out an hour later that the Jan. 2 sailings would not be cancelled. However, as of 11 a.m. on Jan. 2, there was no notification regarding the Jan. 3 sailings. Indeed, when I look at the “service notices” page on the website, there are no notices at all! What are we to conclude?
It is, I suppose, possible to imagine that BC Ferries is having some kind of unusual staffing issues but there is no excuse imaginable for the cruel communications inadequacies on this issue.
I do wonder if BC Ferries and the B.C. government overseers are taking this situation seriously. Hundreds of travellers depend on this ferry service daily for urgent medical appointments, attending employment including essential services, travel commitments, and heart wrenching family dependencies. Sunshine Coast residents also depend on a reliable supply chain for vital food products, medical supplies and industry.
I would suggest that our service is urgent enough that such solutions as helicopter transportation of replacement personnel would be justified in occasional emergencies. Yes, it is costly to hire and hold such a surplus of employees, however the essential nature of our ferry service surely would justify such a commitment.
Bill Forst, Gibsons