Wednesday, February 28, 2024

Council endorses call from Haida Gwaii for letter of support, meeting on BC Ferry service to North Coast

Prince Rupert City Council will throw its support from a call from Haida Gwaii for a joint approach towards BC Ferry issues for the region; that as council reviewed a correspondence from the Islands as part of a late item on their Monday Council Agenda.

As it was a late addition by the Mayor, so far there is no copy of the correspondence available on the City website for review. 

But from the conversation of Monday, the general theme of what Haida Gwaii officials are looking for was outlined.

"Quite simply they are asking us to support them, by writing a letter to the people they've addressed this letter to ... Creating a vision for our coastal ferry system  is very important and long overdue. 

However, it's our view that the Charting the Course Vision proposal Ferries process is not positioned to deliver a vision that represents the needs of the North and Central Coasts.

So they're looking for the opportunity to have a gathering that would address the specific needs of the North and Central Coasts" -- Mayor Herb Pond

We first noted of the Charting the Course initiative from our notes related to a December Regional District session, where the call for the joint letter with local government was first noted.

The Charting the Course program is outlined here.

The first report is expected this spring from the engagement process which began in November

Towards the letter request, Council members expanded on some of the concerns over ferry service to the region, with Councillor Barry Cunningham providing for the opening remarks.

"I was approached by these people for this letter. 

I've been working with the Haida Council on this as well as with the Ferry Advisory Committee and the way the Ferry system is designed right now, even for seniority it's very southern coast oriented.

There's been an argument for years and years that the Federal funding for the Ferry system was designed for the North Coast route only, BC Ferries is saying no, it's for the whole system. 

So that money gets siphoned down for the whole system and again we're the orphans of the system. They're looking for our support, you know obviously we're the hub for route 10 and route 11 and without our support  it doesn't carry as much weight.  

So I really encourage council to support it"

Another potential solution for Alaska Ferry service was floated
as part of Monday's City Council session

Mayor Pond also observed on some other notes from the letter including a potential solution for service to Alaska.

"And it's interesting they even mention you know, I think it's a remote possibility, but they mention the possibility that Ferry service could be positioned to service Ketchikan and reconnect us to Southeast Alaska."

Councillor Cunningham picked up on that proposal, recounting some of the history to the idea.

"Quite sure your familiar with that idea of BC Ferries having a third Ferry that, it's been around  as long as you've been involved in politics and that, and it didn't go anywhere simply because of the Alaska politics more than anything.

But it's been rejuvenated again with BC Ferries running a Ferry from us to Ketchikan and using that same Ferry to beef up the route 11"

Council then endorsed the motion for the letter.

You can review the full discussion from the City's Video Archive starting at the 48:30 mark of the video.

More notes related to the Monday Council session can be reviewed here.

A look at BC Ferry issues and themes is available from our archive page.

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