FILE - Haida Nation members and supporters assembled at the BC Ferries terminal in Prince Rupert on Thursday, April 30, 2020, to tell ferry passengers that “Haida Gwaii is closed” to non-essential travellers until COVID-19 passes. On May 7, 2020, the North Coast Regional District announced a bylaw enforcement officer would also start attending the Prince Rupert terminal to interact with the public and distribute informational materials before all scheduled sailings to Skidegate. (K-J Millar/The Northern View file)

Bylaw officer observing ‘low’ BC Ferries traffic between Prince Rupert, Haida Gwaii

NCRD officer observing low vehicle numbers; only residents, essential workers on board since May 3

The North Coast Regional District (NCRD) has started tracking all BC Ferries traffic between the Prince Rupert and Skidegate terminals.

In a release on May 7, the NCRD announced a bylaw enforcement officer would be regularly attending the BC Ferries Prince Rupert terminal at least two hours prior to all scheduled sailings to Skidegate, interacting with the public and distributing informational materials.

“In partnership with its member municipalities and First Nations partners, the North Coast Regional District is committed to be proactive in minimizing the public health and safety risk in our communities, as well as managing and mitigating any potential COVID-19 impacts to our facilities, operations and delivery of essential services,” the release said.

NCRD corporate officer Jessica Bagnall told the Observer the new position, currently planned to continue for eight weeks, is being funded through the Provincial Regional Emergency Operations Centre and will not have impact on property taxes.

ALSO READ: Lax Kw’alaams propose checkpoint between Prince Rupert and Terrace

The Village of Queen Charlotte has been sharing details on its website, which show that since at least May 3, only residents and essential service workers have been boarding the ferry.

Specifically, on May 3 there were seven vehicles observed loading the vessel for a total of 14 passengers.

“All passengers identified as residents with the exception of one essential services worker,” the village website reads.

On May 4, four vehicles were observed for a total of nine passengers, all of whom identified as residents, except for two essential service workers.

And on May 7, 10 vehicles were observed for a total of 20 passengers, all of whom identified as residents, except for one essential service worker.

“We hope that this knowledge reassures you that the number of vehicles is remaining low and people are respecting our wishes to keep Haida Gwaii safe,” the website reads.

ALSO READ: Haida Nation hosts virtual COVID-19 travel restriction town hall

The village website also noted that “there were no negative interactions with individuals.”

“All passengers seemed appreciative of the informational messaging provided and understood why data was being collected on this end of the travel,” the website reads.

“BC Ferries employees were observed at the ticketing booths providing [Council of the Haida Nation] messaging on travel restrictions and health measures in place, and warning travelers of potential of being denied entry if their travel was non-essential.”

ALSO READ: Vehicle turned around after demonstrators gather near Prince Rupert ferry terminal

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