A BC Ferry Coalition delegation from the Lower Sunshine Coast held a press conference on Tuesday, February 4, at 10:30 a.m., on the steps of Canada Place Trade and Convention Centre to draw attention to the increasing damage being done to coastal communities by BC Ferries’ service cuts and fare increases. Following the press conference the delegation delivered hundreds of personalized letters, addressed to Premier Christy Clark, to the Vancouver Cabinet offices at the World Trade Centre, Suite 740 – 999 Canada Place.
The letters were collected in conjunction with the BC Ferry Coalition’s Tell the Premier: Stop the Cuts and Listen to the People rallies held on January 18 along the Lower Sunshine Coast Highway. The seven Coast rallies, along with others held in Powell River and on Gabriola Island, attracted some 2,200 coastal residents who came out to express their outrage at the proposed BC Ferries service cuts and fare increases scheduled to take effect on April 1.
The Coalition claims that, since the BC Ferries’ current corporate model was put in place, inflation in BC has increased by just 14.7 per cent over 10½ years while, depending on the route, ferry fares have increased by 50 per cent to 93 per cent, or three to six times the rate of inflation.
Jim Cleghorn, Vice-Chair of the BC Ferry Coalition noted “Coastal British Columbians do not take issue with being taxed for our fair share of the provincial highways budget, but we do take issue with being double-dipped by also having to pay an increasingly disproportionate share of the cost of BC Ferries.”