General News · 1st June 2011
North Island MLA Claire Trevena called for the planned review of BC Ferries to be comprehensive, with the public interest in mind.
“People in coastal communities want to see the fares rolled back. I know that's what I'm hearing from my constituents,” said Trevena.
She was speaking on the Coastal Ferry Amendment Act which allows for the ferry commissioner to review the Coastal Ferries Act, which semi privatised BC Ferries. She told the Legislature that there is huge inequity in the way government supports the highway infrastructure in BC: roads and bridges are maintained with public funds but it is a user pay system for the ferries.
“I hope the commissioner realizes that B.C. Ferries became the way it was, by W.A.C. Bennett, because ferries were not seen to be a profitable proposition. Ferries were seen as part of our highway system,” she said. "They were not supposed to come in raking a profit. They were not supposed to come in as cruise ships. They were there to support and sustain our coastal communities”.
Trevena said that unless fares are dealt with, problems will grow for people living and working in coastal communities who are dealing daily with ferry fares which are rising much faster than the cost of living.
“These fares are having a huge impact on families and on all the communities on the Coast; we must address them immediately,” said Trevena.
The legislation will be passed quickly because the BC Liberal Government has announced it will be closing down the Legislature this week. Despite having a fixed Legislative calendar, it will have only sat for little more than four weeks in the last year.