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General News · 7th January 2017
Uschi Koebberling
The committee met 17 November 2017 at Manson’s Hall and included committee members from Cortes and Quadra and the following representatives from BC Ferries: Mark Collins, VP Strategic Planning and Community Engagement, 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.

Highlights of the overall positive meeting include:
• After the Quadra - Campbell River (route 23) service lost 9 government mandated runs, revenues have increased that route. Financial performance was considerably better. but overloads also increased. If we want to re-instate sailings, the community needs to make a proposal to BC Ferries, demonstrating an operational need and resulting net new traffic The proposal needs to be specific re. what sailing, what day of the week, if summer time only, and a rationale why this would result in an expected increase in traffic. Cortes FAC members will further discuss the option to sail the Sunday 1st ferry in the summer to reduce overloads that carry on into the day in the peak summer season. We would need to demonstrate net traffic increase or suggest an alternate low-usage run be canceled so that crew training and drills can happen then instead of Sunday mornings.

• BC Ferries has contracted a cleaner for the new bathrooms at the Whaletown terminal 7 days per week in the peak season and 5 days per week in the off season. Jeff West will look into more frequent spot checking to address concerns about odours in the washrooms.

• Cancelled sailings due to weather: each route has a specific checklist to determine whether to sail or not, that includes wind speeds, wave heights – the primary determining factor - and other route specific factors. There should be a warning put out at the terminal informing passengers that there is a risk of cancellations as the day progresses that could affect the planned return.

• There is a Standard Operating Procedure (SOP) for issuing service notices when there are ferry cancellations, yet not when service resumes. Resuming of service should also always be announced. The Ship Master determines cancellation, calls Campbell River and calls Operation Centre in Victoria to issue Service Notice. Services Notices need to be more informative which requires breaking down some cultural barriers. BCFC also needs to inform us where the vessel is holding.

• Off-loading at Heriot Bay to go to Campbell River and at Quatiaski Cove going to Cortes is a Standard Operating Procedure. Not all crew follow this new procedure which is particularly important when offloading in Heriot Bay.

• Shade options for Campbell River Terminal: A covered walkway that provides rain protection and shade is estimated to cost $300,000. The FAC should discuss whether the option of a pergola should be revisited. The covered walkway will be part of the terminal upgrade in 2010.

• Number of vehicles for priority loading: Every vehicle on Monday/Thursday 7:50 AM sailings leaving Whaletown gets an assured loading ticket. Initially the cut-off was at 24, it is now at 28. The Ship’s Master calls how many vehicles are coming. For loading in Campbell River, the green colour card is an important trigger and works really well for staff for cars that did not fit into lane 7. All Cortes bound cars should display it. They will look into adding another lane in Campbell River and not send Cortes cars to lane 1-6 and mix with Quadra cars if cars arrive before the 20 minute cut off if land 7 is full.

• The webcam in Campbell River had to be removed. BC Ferries will look into finding an alternate location for it at that terminal. Cortes FAC will talk about installing a webcam at the Whaletown terminal and explore which Cortes organization can carry it. CIABATA? BC Ferries is willing to have it placed on their property.

• Ferry cancellations because of insufficient crew reflects a problem of not having enough sufficiently qualified people on call.

• BC Ferries should carry Naloxone in response to the Fentanyl crisis.

• The discount promotion in December provides a further test for fare flexibility BC Ferries is planning to introduce in the future. This however offers a very small reduction in cost when using an experience card.

• The Minor 44 class ferries will eventually replace ferries carrying 40 to 50 cars, such as the Tachek for Cortes. The public is encouraged to provide input at this early design stage. Following the FAC meeting, the general public was invited to express their preferences and concerns to feed into the design specifications. The bidding process is planned to start before 31 March 2017 and to have a finalist selected before June 2017.

• There is an Automobile Equivalent (AEQ) for each ferry. In some cases, these have been adjusted, though the vessel has remained the same. The AEQ for the Tachek is 26 and for the Powell River Queen 59.

Any questions, please contact FAC Chair Paul Ryan ""
Will the new ferry handle weather better? Less shutdowns
Comment by Mike Malek 202 5020 on 7th January 2017
We have all had stressful stranded waiting experiences. Is it the ships seaworthyness or just protocol?