Thursday, February 26, 2015

Airport Ferry to sail with $925,000 subsidy in 2015

One of the more interesting reviews from Monday's Budget Presentation from the City's Financial Officer was the quick snapshot of the cost of operating the City's Airport  Ferry.

A financial challenge for the community that for 2015 will require a subsidy for operations of $925,000,  a burden of financing that is for the most part carried by the taxpayers of the city, a topic that the City's Financial Officer explored further as part of her review of Monday night.

"As described in a recent report produced on the capacity of the ferry service, our airport is described as one of the most challenging to access in the industrialized world. We are also likely one of the few municipalities in BC that have to fund their own transportation to an airport, most are accessible by road and light rail.

Although many of our neighbours and visitors benefit from the proximity of our airport, they only pay on a user basis, our municipality pays not only a user fee, but also subsidizes the operation through taxation. 2015 predicts a subsidization of 925,000 dollars. " -- City Financial Officer Corinne Bomben on the nature of the Airport Ferry Subsidization.

The topic of funding access to the airport is one that Council has discussed frequently in the past.

The last Council of 2011-2014 had been looking for ways to engage the region in sharing some of that cost, however that was a proposed shift in the burden that didn't seem to find much traction in those years.

You can review some of the recurring themes and past Council observations below:

March 26, 2014 -- On buses, boats and planes and the financial pain of airport access
March 11, 2013 -- Many kind words, but little funding for airport access initiatives
March 3, 2013 -- Don't Pay the Ferryman until he gets you to the other side

Ms. Bomben's observations on the Airport Ferry can be reviewed from the Video Archive of Monday's Budget Presentation, the topic appears at the very beginning of her presentation at the 58 minute mark of the council session.

The mention of the Airport Ferry and its cost to the City as part of the Budget preview of Monday, probably could be seen an indication that the topic is about to be reintroduced into the regional debate.

With Council perhaps preparing to taking the issue up in the future with the surrounding communities that make use of the Digby Island airport.

You can review more on items related to Air Transportation on the North Coast from our archive page.

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