Arnie Nagy makes an impassioned statement about the need maintain the current service level to Haida Gwaii.

VIDEO: BC Ferries told cuts unacceptable during open house in Prince Rupert

Representatives from BC Ferries and the Ministry of Transportation were told service cuts on the North Coast are simply unacceptable.

  • Dec. 6, 2013 9:00 a.m.

Over the course of 90 minutes on Thursday night, representatives from BC Ferries and the Ministry of Transportation were repeatedly told proposed service cuts on the North Coast are simply unacceptable.

The plan unveiled by BC Ferries at the open house includes the elimination of of the Monday night sailing from Prince Rupert to Skidegate and subsequent Tuesday morning sailing from Skidegate to Prince Rupert during the off-peak season and the elimination of the Saturday sailing during the peak season – effectively cutting the schedule to two trips per week during the off-peak schedule and five sailings per week during peak season.

On the Inside Passage, the peak season would be reduced from the current May to September to a seven week window between June and mid-September, and the mid-week sailings during the off-peak season would be eliminated so there is only the weekend sailing.

Mayor Jack Mussallem was first to speak and made it clear any cuts would not be easily pushed on the people of the region, particularly in light of a $24 million agreement between the province and Nexen for land at Grassy Point.

“We’re very resistant to this. We’re very resistant to people who don’t live here coming here and imposing something … we will be asking Premier Clark for reconsideration. I don’t want to insult anyone here, but I’m not really interested in talking to anyone here. We’re going straight to the Premier. This is a political decision, it’s nothing else, and it’s being handled in a very, very poor way. If you were in my shoes, you would understand why we’re objecting to this, why we’re actually insulted by it,” he said, a statement that was supported by Mayor Dave MacDonald of Port Edward.

“This is going to hurt the Charlottes, it is going to hurt everything going on in the north. I can tell you that the District of Port Edward will be with whoever goes to Victoria to see anybody to talk to, and it will not be a friendly conversation,” said Mayor MacDonald.

Along with Mayor Mussallem, several people who addressed the panel reiterated that BC Ferry service is part of the highway system on the North Coast and need to be treated as such.

“What we would like to see is a series of opportunities that would provide us a service, just as it would be a highway service and just as it was previously. We still consider this as a marine highway and extension of highway 16 … you need to cater to the people who live here, who need this service to their benefit,” said Skeena – Queen Charlotte Regional District vice-chair Des Nobles.

“When you talk to the powers that be, really look out for the interests of the North Coast and ask that you passionately and whole-heartedly heard the message that this is our highway system here … I would love to see our ferry system part of the highway system. We know we have to pay for it, but bring it back into the province,” said Rob Eby.

While many pointed to the rising costs of taking the ferry as the reason for the decline, tourism operators said BC Ferries needs to push off any service cuts until 2015.

“We’re marketing the 2015 season. We have completed and have contracts in place for 2014, contracts have been made and signed. We have given out room commitments, we have blocked off rooms for tourism and we should be able to accommodate these things. All those bookings were made on the basis of the published schedule,” said hotel owner Jack Payne.

“Cancellations have already begun and will continue. Other visitors will choose not to book in the first place, choosing destinations that are more readily accessible … the fact that these changes are intended to occur as early as April 2014 will create extraordinary challenges for our partners and the international tour community who already have contracts in place,” said Tourism Prince Rupert chair Scott Farwell.

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Such sweetness with all this candy. Dylan Kennedy 7, with his mom Kerri Kennedy volunteer at the Halloween Fest Committee event to bag candy for students in SD 52 on Oct. 19. (Photo: K-J Millar/The Northern View)
How sweet it is

Bags of candy were assembled by more than 25 Halloween Fest Volunteers for distribution to S.D. 52

Ashley Wilson officer in charge of Prince Rupert Marine Communications and Traffic Services said radio officers in Prince Rupert are the eyes and ears of the Canadian Coast Guard with the job as an ocean first responder being like a 911 dispatcher. (Photo: K-J Millar/The Northern View)
Coast Guard calling for radio officers

Deadline for radio officers applications extended specifically for Prince Rupert and area residents

FILE - Nathan Cullen speaks to media in Smithers, B.C., Friday, February 28, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
More calls come in for Cullen’s removal as NDP candidate

Gitxsan Hereditary Chiefs demand Cullen’s removal. Ellis says, There’s no place in B.C. for racism

An election tussle has now erupted over the long-dismantled Skeena Cellulose pulp mill on Watson Island, shown here in a 2013 photo. (File photo The Northern View)
Wilkinson, Horgan tagged over pulp mill file and legal battle

Case dates back to attempt to re-open closed Skeena Celluose pulp mill

ANBT 2021 is still in the planning, Peter Haugan event organizer said on Oct. 13. In the 2020 ANBT, Hydaburg’s T.J. Young drives along the baseline against Prince Rupert’s Brady Johnston. Hydaburg would defeat P.R, but fell to New Aiyansh in the next round. (The Northern View file photo)
All Native Basketball Tournament 2021 still in the planning

“If we cannot run it with our fans, we cannot run the tournament” - Peter Haugan

FILE – People wait in line at a COVID-19 testing facility in Burnaby, B.C., on Thursday, August 13, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
167 new COVID-19 cases, 1 death recorded as B.C. enters 2nd wave

Three new healthcare outbreaks also announced

This 2020 electron microscope image made available by the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases shows a Novel Coronavirus SARS-CoV-2 particle isolated from a patient, in a laboratory in Fort Detrick, Md. THE CANADIAN PRESS/AP-NIAID/NIH via AP
At least 49 cases of COVID-19 linked to wedding in Calgary: Alberta Health

McMillan says the city of Calgary has recently seen several outbreaks linked to social gatherings

UBC geoscientists discovered the wreckage of a decades-old crash during an expedition on a mountain near Harrison Lake. (Submitted photo)
Wreckage of decades-old plane crash discovered on mountain near Harrison Lake

A team of Sts’ailes Community School students helped discover the twisted metal embedded in a glacier

The official search to locate Jordan Naterer was suspended Saturday Oct. 17. Photo courtesy of VPD.
‘I am not leaving without my son,’ says mother of missing Manning Park hiker

Family and friends continue to search for Jordan Naterer, after official efforts suspended

A bear similar to this black bear is believed responsible for killing a llama in Saanich on Oct. 19. (Black Press Media file photo)
Bear kills llama on Vancouver Island, prompting concerns over livestock

Officers could not track the bear they feel may not fear humans

Join Black Press Media and Do Some Good

Pay it Forward program supports local businesses in their community giving

Bernard Trest and his son Max, 10, are concerned about B.C.’s plan for students in the classroom. He was one of two fathers who filed a court application in August to prevent schools from reopening if stricter COVID-19 protections weren’t in place. That application was dismissed last week. (Contributed photo)
B.C. dad pledges to appeal quashed call for mandatory masks, distancing in schools

Bernard Trest and Gary Shuster challenged health, education ministries’ return-to-school plan

RCMP crest. (Black Press Media files)
RCMP cleared in fatal shooting of armed Lytton man in distress, police watchdog finds

IIO spoke to seven civillian witnesses and 11 police officers in coming to its decision

A 34-year-old man was treated for a gunshot wound in Williams Lake Monday, Oct 19, 2020. (Angie Mindus photo - Williams Lake Tribune)
Williams Lake man treated for gunshot wound after accidental shooting: RCMP

Police are reminding residents to ensure firearms are not loaded when handling them

Most Read