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General News · 16th May 2015
Uschi Koebberling
Ferry Advisory Committee Meeting on Cortes Island
The committee met 8 May 2015 at the Gorge, and included committee members from Quadra and Cortes and the following representatives from BC Ferries: Corinne Storey, VP Customer Services, David Hendry – Strategic Planning Director; Captain Al deKoninck – Marine Superintendent, Jeff West, Superintendent of Terminal Operations for the North Islands, and Darin Guenette – Public Affairs Manager.
Paul Ryan volunteered to continue as FAC Chair; welcome Ester Strijbos as a new committee member. Continuing members representing Cortes are Rod Lee, Bertha Jeffrey , Noba Anderson and Uschi Koebberling for a 4 year term.

Highlights of this quite positive and productive meeting:
• Noise of the Tachek a) on the outside deck from exhaust stacks b) noise when departing, c) generator running when in Whaletown and d) lights on the vessel: a) A quick solution will be looked at to change the direction of the stack pipe/exhaust pipe as well as extending it if necessary. If this does not lower the noise significantly it will be looked at again when the Tachek goes in for refit in 2016. b) Staff has been instructed to not use more than 50% of thrusters; training includes consideration of the needs of the community. Regular staff is ok, new/replacement staff still an issue. c) The generator is running as a frost watch in winter months. Hydropower will be upgraded upgraded in the fall/winter to meet power requirements. After the hydropower is in place the generator will only be used during power outages. d) Lights are needed for security monitoring; however, lights have been dimmed, yet still meet requirements.

• Shade in Campbell River. Creating a tree line to provide shade is not a feasible solution at this point. Instead BC Ferries will create shady areas with seats.

• Issues of particular interest to Quadra residents: a night watchman on the Campbell River ferry; offloading pedestrians and bicycles; traffic from the parking lot while offloading; and staffing issues, particularly when emergency runs are required. Though Coast Guard is the primary entity to contact, BC Ambulance prefers the ferry as it is medically superior for patient support.

• Off-loading at Quatiaski Cove: though Standard Operating Procedures are in place to offload Cortes bound traffic before the remainder of the centre lane, this practice is not always followed. Al deKoninck will reinforce procedures. Crew on Tachek have to be called to wait. - Overload from Lane 7, i.e. when that lane is full and Cortes bound cars are mixed with general Quadra traffic, is not working. The green Cortes tag is to signify loading staff to recognize Cortes traffic. We would like to have traffic put into lane 8 or 9, provided cars arrive 20-30 minutes prior to scheduled departure.

• Estimated versus actual results from the service cuts to Route 23 were not available. Overall savings will become public with BCFC’s Annual Report in August 2015.

• Water on the Tachek is filtered and drinkable. Al deKoninck will look into safe drinking water on the sister ship and also at ferry terminals.

• The Whaletown waiting room is scheduled to be replaced in 2016. Call for tender for the work will be put on BC Ferries website.