Take Action Prepared Letter

The short-sighted decision to cancel the Discovery Coast direct sailing between Bella Coola and Port Hardy is wrong and must be overturned. The ridiculous new plan calling for subdivision of the route and using the inadequate Nimpkish as a connector vessel results in a list of unacceptable consequences, including:

  • alienating the international tourism industry, who now refer to British Columbia as “tourism-hostile”
  • devastating the $6 million tourism industry that was generated by the cancelled ferry service
  • causing the closure of dozens of businesses and the loss of hundreds of jobs
  • limiting health services to Central Coast communities
  • severely damaging the socio-economic fabric of communities throughout the Cariboo Chilcotin Coast and Northern Vancouver Island
  • violating the human rights of the disabled and the elderly
  • giving British Columbia a black eye on the world stage

These costs far exceed the paltry savings BC Ferries hopes to realize through this ill-considered plan.

Government has an obligation to foster the economic and social well-being of its citizens. Add your name to the growing list of people demanding that the cancellation be overturned and the Queen of Chilliwack be reinstated on the Discovery Coast route. It is the right thing to do for ferry passengers, for the people of the Cariboo Chilcotin Coast and Northern Vancouver Island, and for the Province of British Columbia.

Even if you have written already, take this opportunity to remind the government and BC Ferries that this fight continues.

Fill out the form below to voice your opposition to the proposed cutbacks to the Discovery Coast Ferry.

The following is a prepared letter. You can write your own version here.

To: Hon. Christy Clark, Premier
Hon. Todd Stone, Transportation Minister
Hon. Naomi Yamamoto, Tourism and Small Business Minister
Hon. Michael de Jong, Finance Minister
Hon. Shirley Bond, Minister of Jobs, Tourism, and Skills Training
Mike Corrigan, BC Ferries President
Donna Barnett, MLA Cariboo-Chilcotin
Jennifer Rice, MLA North Coast
Clair Trevena, MLA North Island & NDP BC Ferries Critic

Re: Discovery Coast Ferry

It has become increasingly clear that the cancellation of the direct portion of Route 40 between Port Hardy and Bella Coola and the replacement of the Queen of Chilliwack by the Nimpkish is a short-sighted and economically unsound decision. I urge you to correct this problem immediately.

These specific changes are meant to save only $725,000 for BC Ferries, but that was before it became clear that the Nimpkish would require significant refurbishment to survive the passage, that the Nimpkish would need to run more often than planned, and that alterations to the Inside Passage route would be required. Each of these changes will have heavy financial costs, and taken together they vastly outweigh the originally projected savings. Replacing the Queen of Chilliwack with the Nimpkish will increase operating costs for BC Ferries this year.

Without mining and forestry, tourism was touted as the economic driver for the Central Coast. But the Nimpkish is simply inadequate in every way for the role it’s being asked to perform. The range of problems this will cause includes:

• alienating the international tourism industry, who now refer to British Columbia as “tourism-hostile”
• devastating the $6 million tourism industry that was generated by the cancelled ferry service
• causing the closure of dozens of businesses and the loss of hundreds of jobs
• limiting health services to Central Coast communities
• severely damaging the socio-economic fabric of communities throughout the Cariboo Chilcotin Coast and Northern Vancouver Island
• violating the human rights of the disabled and the elderly
• giving British Columbia a black eye on the world stage

I am asking you to commit to retaining the Queen of Chilliwack on Route 40 for 2014, and work with the region’s tourism operators on rational, fiscally responsible changes that will enhance revenue for BC Ferries and the province, and result in vibrant, economically stable communities.

Sincerely,

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