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Letters: The Coast needs a new BC Ferries vessel – four years ago

'This situation is not new – BC Ferries proposed the construction of a new ferry for Route 3 in 2018. If your ministry had approved the ask, a new ferry would have been in operation by now. Inexplicably, your ministry refused to do so.'
BC Ferries vessel
A BC Ferries vessel sailing through Howe Sound.

Editor:  

The following letter was addressed to BC Minister of Transportation and Infrastructure Rob Fleming and shared with Coast Reporter. 

The ferry service from the Southern Sunshine Coast to the Lower Mainland (our marine highway) is increasingly suffering from breakdowns and overloads, which warrants immediate action by your government. 

Route #3 is the third largest route in the fleet. Yet, we are serviced by some of the oldest vessels (Queen of Surrey is 47 years old and the Queen of Coquitlam is 46 years old.) Mechanical failures are to be expected given the ages of the vessels. And, since it takes years to build new vessels and there are no backup or replacement vessels available, the issue is dire.  

This situation is not new – BC Ferries proposed the construction of a new ferry for Route 3 in 2018. If your ministry had approved the ask, a new ferry would have been in operation by now. Inexplicably, your ministry refused to do so. 

While we need vessels, please do not consider this an opportunity to try to claw back BC Ferries operations into the government fold. That won’t get us the ships we need. BC Ferry Services exists to operate what is a very complex system. Their responsibility is to provide a high-quality, safe service, working with the vessels that are available to them. They do an extraordinary job of this but cannot be expected to work miracles.  

Mr. Minister, the situation at BC Ferries is an emergency. But it can be fixed (at no cost to the government, if necessary). It simply requires your agreement to amend the Coastal Ferry Services Contract to permit BC Ferries get the much-needed vessels built. 

I hope you agree that the increasingly unreliable transportation infrastructure is not acceptable for Sunshine Coast residents and tourists.  

John R. Henderson 

Sechelt 

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