Noba Anderson - Regional Dir.
Why I am no longer at the Ferry Advisory Committee table
The Cortes-Quadra Ferry Advisory Committee (FAC) is one of 13 BC Ferries-led FACs on the BC coast, designed to give community input to BC Ferries. I am writing because I think that the committee is either at the point of renewal or collapse and I think you should know why. Let me first give you a bit context for the functioning of our current FAC
and then offer three reasons I strongly encourage Cortes citizen-witness at the upcoming FAC meeting
, Friday, October 25th at 10:30 at the Gorge Hall
. Context for the functioning of our current FAC
Our particular FAC has been an uncomfortable place for years, while also not representing Cortes interests well. There are a few compounding factors that led to this circumstance. Although this may seem dry – this is the most direct mechanism through which our community can communicate our collective wishes to BC Ferries, and as that impacts all of us, please read on.
The first major problem, as I see it, has to do with who is at the table. There have been 5 members from each Quadra and Cortes, which has recently risen to 6. As FAC vacancies arose, BC Ferries added new members at the recommendation of existing members, rather than through the result of public postings or outreach to community organizations. Because of this practice, Cortes FAC membership for the last many years was pulled, with the exception of me, from one friendship network. Not only did this limited perspective not represent the true diversity of Cortes opinion, but it also led to breakdowns in cooperation and communication among your Cortes representatives.
I suggested to BC Ferries that, instead of this ad hoc process, they appoint FAC members only as recommended by Klahoose and various community organizations such as the Health Association, Transportation Committee, Harbour Authority etc. allowing for total committee renewal. My goal was to have better representation of the breadth of Cortes’ wishes and values.
BC Ferries recently instated a two-term limit for FAC membership, allowing members to serve two consecutive four-year terms, for a maximum of 8 years of service. The FAC meets twice a year, spring and fall, and this past spring saw the beginning of a new term, so some new members were appointed. The natural Cortes vacancies that arose due to the implementation of the two-term limit have been filled in the way I suggested. There are now representatives from the Cortes Community Health Association, the Cortes Transportation Committee, and the Klahoose First Nation. Two previously-appointed members remain, serving out their second terms.
Although initially Jim Abram (Regional Director for Area C including Quadra Island) and I were invited to stay beyond our two-term limit, I stepped aside, encouraging Jim to do the same, and asked my new Alternate Director (Corry Dow) to stand in my place. I stood down partly due to the unproductive environment, partly to make room for fresh perspectives, and partly to demonstrate by example that Regional Directors can be involved in FAC matters through their alternate directors.
Another major challenge has been the internal conduct of some FAC members. My Regional District code of conduct, and general professional etiquette, preclude me from making specific comments about my colleagues. However, I have expressed to BC Ferries senior management that I expect them to hold FAC members to a similar standard to that expected of BC Ferries employees when it comes to work place conduct. Let me just say that I was no longer able to be an effective agent for Cortes at the table, and I fear that unless some persistent and underlying problems are addressed and solved, Cortes ferry business will continue to suffer.
The next Ferry Advisory Committee (FAC) meeting will be held on Friday October 25th, at 10:30 am at the Gorge Hall
with the following agenda:
a. Terms of reference discussion; conduct and two-term limit
b. Chairperson; discussion and selection
c. Assured loading requests (process) & discussion on Klahoose request
d. Cortes commercial request for assured loading (Bill Dougan)
e. Timeline for new Route 23 vessels - update
f. BCF updates (website launch, Current conditions/parking lot display) 3 reasons I encourage you to attend the upcoming FAC meeting
The first reason to attend is to show your support for the Klahoose First Nation’s request to have assured loading between Cortes and Campbell River, two sailings a week, for their elder health shuttle. For background, please read Klahoose Councillor Steven Brown’s recent post at https://www.cortesisland.com/tideline/show12147a0x50y1z/Access_to_healthcare__priority_loading
Letters of support for the Klahoose shuttle can be sent to Steven at stevenbrownklahoose.org and the Nation will present them to BC Ferries. Let’s show solid community support so that this request can be granted without further delay.
The second reason to attend is to show your support for an assured loading request from our grocery stores for food supply trucks. This main reason BC Ferries was created was to supply island communities. Having fresh, and sometimes live, food arrive and depart from Cortes in a timely, predictable manner is an important issue of food quality and safety. Two Cortes stores have already written recently to BC Ferries with this request. This is something that I have been trying to advance for years and is more needed now than ever! Please look for an article soon from your stores. Letters of support for the food truck requests can be sent to Darin Guenette at BC Ferries darin.guenettebcferries.com and a copy sent to Kate Maddigan, Cortes FAC member at kate.maddigangmail.com.
The third reason to show up on Friday the 25th is to build local awareness of the internal functionality of the FAC, and to support either a turn toward greater civility and effectiveness at the table or the shaping of an alternate structure that can represent Cortes interests in a creative and cooperative space.
FAC meetings are rarely on Cortes, and given the confluence of Cortes issues on this FAC agenda, as well as an item on FAC Terms of Reference, I urge your attendance and witness.
See you there.
Ministry of transportation.