Tuesday, November 26, 2013

North Coast residents can share their BC Ferries thoughts in December

The recent announcement from BC Ferries of significant route reductions on a number of routes will have a large impact up and down the coast and perhaps no region will feel it's impact as much as the communities of the North Coast and Haida Gwaii.

As we outlined on the blog last week, Prince Rupert, the Central Coast and Haida Gwaii will all see a major shift in service levels on the routes that use the Prince Rupert Terminal as hub.

As part of the process of Community Engagement the province will be hosting Public Open Houses in the region through December. With a number of public sessions planned for Haida Gwaii and Prince Rupert in the first week of the month.

Three hours have been allocated for each community to participate with the meetings split into two segments. A public open forum for 90 minutes and then a question and answer period to follow.

The latter providing residents and ferry users the opportunity to weigh in on the many aspects of the recent announcement, changes that BC Ferries and the province have stated are key to the ongoing sustainability of the Coastal Ferry Network.

Among the themes to be reviewed and feedback anticipated on will be:

Service Adjustments
Senior's Discounts
Gaming Pilot Project
Reservation System, Time of Day Pricing and Loyalty Programs
Supplemental Private Passenger Only Service

The First of the sessions takes place on December 2nd in Sandspit, with the Northern engagement series ending in Prince Rupert on the 5th of December.

The schedule for the Public Open Houses is as follows:

Sandspit-- December 2--  5-8 PM --  Sandspit Community Hall
Queen Charlotte City-- December 3 -- 5-8 PM -- Queen Charlotte City Community Hall
Masset-- December 4 -- 5-8 PM-- Masset Community Hall
Prince Rupert-- December 5-- 5-8 PM-- Crest Hotel

There will also be a Webinar on the theme set to take place on December 18th, from 1 - 3 PM.

For those that want to take in that session you will need to contact the organizers to gain access to that discussion. More details on that particular aspect of the Community Engagement can be found from the web page on the events, the details are at the bottom of the schedule of sessions.

Not surprisingly, considering the wide ranging scope of the changes that have been announced, the community engagement sessions that have been held thus far have been well attended and provided the provincial government with a fair amount of feedback from  those communities that have been affected.

Much of the same kind of sentiment and concern will no doubt be expressed, when the sessions make their way to the North Coast and Haida Gwaii in December.

You can review more of the entire Community Engagement process from their website.

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