While I would love to see more sailings and reduced fares, that is simply not realistic as long as BCF is private and clearly our government has no interest in taking it back. BCF as a corporation will only do what is economically viable for them. No amount of letters, petitions, demonstrations, etc., has resulted in anything but empty promises; instead, another two per cent per year fare hike for four years. Fares have increased 33 per cent in the last five years alone. Currently, a commuter pays $272.80 a month to cross plus parking (both sides) and cost of a second vehicle. It costs a family of four $77.95. During summer, the “40-minute sailing” often takes more than four hours (arrive one hour early, ferry overloaded, wait 1.5 to 2.5 hours for next ferry, ferry late 20+ minutes, 40 minute sailing, 15 minutes to unload). Locals and tourists are forced to wait in a parking lot for hours with small children, pets and even livestock. This system is archaic and expensive and it hurts our tourism.
Currently we have an aging community with less than average disposable income. Soon, over 180 layoffs will result in the spin-off of even more layoffs. Families are forced to move off-Coast due to lack of jobs. Less money spent in our community will hurt already struggling small businesses, which equals more layoffs and business closures.
A fixed link will attract more young families, enable more to commute to work and post-secondary education instead of moving off-Coast, increase tourism, strengthen small businesses, attract more small businesses, create jobs and save local families money that they are now forced to spend to use our “highway.” With proper city planning to account for the influx, this could be extremely beneficial for everyone in our community.
Christine Turner, Gibsons
I learned a new word: Archaic Looking at several glossary definitions, it really means that the ferries are not absolute, but no longer useful. Let us build the connector. Anyway, thank you for a really good letter, and a new word describing the present situation.