Transportation Minister Claire Trevena is promising to take what she heard at a meeting with local government leaders at the Union of BC Municipalities (UBCM) convention into her ministry’s latest consultation on the future of coastal ferry services.
Trevena made the commitment in an Oct. 22 letter to the mayors of Gibsons and Sechelt, which was released as part of the council agenda packages for this week.
The letter followed Trevena’s announcement of a new round of public consultations and “visioning process” as part of the government’s response to an independent review of ferry service released in February.
In her letter, Trevena specifically mentions the idea championed by Sunshine Coast local governments to establish a pilot project for a provincially subsidized passenger-only ferry service to Vancouver.
A 2018 feasibility study conducted by SCREDO for the Town of Gibsons concluded that such a service was unlikely to succeed without subsidies.
“I appreciated you sharing with me your thoughts and feedback about ferry service to the Sunshine Coast, including your idea about piloting a water taxi foot passenger service,” Trevena wrote.
“Through [the consultation] process, we will be able to identify what improvements could be made over the long term and how the ministry can better integrate ferry services within the existing transportation network. We will ensure your comments about ferry service to the Sunshine Coast are kept in mind during this process.”
When she announced the new consultations Trevena said she’d be meeting with stakeholders on the Sunshine Coast as well as Nanaimo, Victoria, Vancouver, Salt Spring Island, Haida Gwaii and Comox.
According to Sunshine Coast Regional District chair Lori Pratt, Trevena has already taken part in a meeting with local stakeholders.
Trevena’s letter also briefly addressed the other issue raised at the UBCM meeting – improvements to Highway 101. The minister said a consultant’s study on the Highway 101 corridor should be completed “by 2020” and local ministry staff will follow up to discuss the findings.
– With files from Sophie Woodrooffe