Monday, November 4, 2019

Frustrations from Haida Gwaii over delays to improved inter island ferry service

The BC Ferry Kwuna in transit between Moresby
and Graham Islands on Haida Gwaii

(photo from BC Ferries)

The apparent delay of plans to add additional sailings for the BC Ferry Kwuna which connects Graham and Moresby Islands of Haida Gwaii is not sitting well with municipal officials across the Island.

According to municipal and regional leaders on the Islands, BC Ferries has delayed plans to restore the services for the Kwuna Ferry (Route 26) which transits between Skidegate inlet and Alliford Bay.

With the perviously announced plan to return in January to the level of increased service last seen in 2014, now pushed back to April of 2020.

As the municipal officials tell it, there are a number of issues that BC Ferries have stated that have a lack of housing/rentals, shortage of tradesmen and Sea Tine Accrual levels among them.
resulted in the delay, including

Their letter notes how the decision "seems to fly in the face of the changes that were made to the Coastal Ferry Act"  and how the communities of Haida Gwaii are "very disappointed that the return of the service for Route 26 seems to be a low priority for BC Ferries."

They go further, calling for the service to be taken away from BC Ferries and returned to the Ministry of Transportation and Infrastructure, where it "should be treated the same as other inland ferries"

We last looked at the call for the change of responsibility for the ferry back in September of last year.

From the pages of the Village of Queen Charlotte Facebook page, comes a copy of a correspondence to Claire Trevena, the Minister of Transportation and Infrastructure which details the concerns of those on Haida Gwaii and outlines the ongoing frustrations that a lack of progress on the issue of additional sailings is providing for.

Among those  who are included in the cc's for the letter to Ms. Trevena were BC Ferries CEO Mark Collins and North Coast MLA Jennifer Rice.

Ms. Rice has long been an outspoken critic of the service provided to Haida Gwaii by BC Ferries, but so far apparently hasn't been able to achieve the increased level of service that residents have been seeking.

You can review the comments for all from the letters below:

As they note in their correspondence to the Minister, the word on the Kwuna came after Ms. Trevena's recent visit, where she launched a far reaching vision plan for the future of ferry service in the province.

That vision plan kicked off its start on Haida Gwaii and is somewhat noticeable for the exclusion of Prince Rupert as a destination for the consultation process.

However, rather than look too far over the horizon for ferry planning, we imagine more immediately, the residents of Haida Gwaii are no doubt hoping the current government delivers on some of their past promises before planning for the future ones!

For more items of note on Ferry Service on the North Coast and Haida Gwaii see our archive page here.

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