Kitimat mayor pushing for new ferry service to villages

It may be some way from being launched, but mayor Joanne Monaghan is excited by a proposed ferry service that would take in Kitimat, Bella Bella, Bella Coola, Hartley Bay and Klemtu.

It may be some way from being launched, but mayor Joanne Monaghan is excited by a proposed ferry service that would take in Kitimat, Bella Bella, Bella Coola, Hartley Bay and Klemtu.

She is chairing a task force that is pushing the concept.

First up is trying to find the money to pay for a feasibility study, but Monaghan is confident it will be come.

She said the Northern Development Initiative Trust, who will be handling the study, had already said it would cover part of the cost and the task force was chasing down a couple of other grants.

Monaghan noted the Haisla of Kitamaat Village did a feasibility study in 2008 on a similar idea, albeit on a smaller scale than this concept, and had been kind enough to provide the task force with a copy.

Monaghan said the benefits from such a service would flow both ways.

From Kitimat’s perspective, the ferry would allow people from those coastal communities to come here and utilize the medical services at Kitimat General such as ultrasound and other tests, services that Kitimat could lose without more people using them.

In that regard, she had been in “productive talks” with Northern Health Authority administrator Johnathan Cooper.

Having lived in Klemtu for two summers and Bella Bella for one, she said the “big bugbear” was if you wanted to go anywhere, you had to go to Prince

Rupert.

And with this service Kitimat would only be six hours away. As far as the coastal communities were concerned, she saw an opportunity to help cultural tourism there flourish.

“We have so much in cultural activity to give to the rest of the world,” Monaghan added.

Turning to the Kitimat terminus, she said the task force was looking at the Eurocan dock. Noting a new ramp had been put in there just before the announced closure of the pulp and paper mill, she added, “It would be really good for roll-on, roll-off.”