In less than two weeks, the service reductions put into effect by BC Ferries have cost businesses on the North Coast thousands of dollars.
If there had been a third Monday sailing, I don’t doubt the traffic associated with Adventure Paving and commercial traffic from companies like Bandstra and Rona. But alas there is not.
The scary thing about these thousands of dollars being lost is that there is no doubt this is just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to the economic impact from ferry cuts.
While the next reservation available for commercial traffic is at the end of June, someone wanting to book travel for personal reasons is staring down a two week wait. A family planning their vacation last week for a trip to beautiful Haida Gwaii wouldn’t be able to travel until May 22.
That doesn’t bode well given that early May is far from peak tourism season.
While commercial losses may be large, the loss of revenue to tourism operators, hoteliers and businesses on Haida Gwaii will likely be immeasurable. Although it will be interesting to see what the numbers look like when October rolls around.
The problem with the cuts and this loss of revenue is that BC Ferries and the province seem to be of the mindset that it is perfectly acceptable for Haida Gwaii when it would not be acceptable pretty much anywhere else in British Columbia. You wouldn’t cut off access to Tofino for economic reasons, you wouldn’t tell people in Mackenzie they can’t leave town 52 days of the year and you certainly wouldn’t shut down the Alaska Highway leading to Fort Nelson.
Why is that? Because they considered to be part of the highway system.
What people in Victoria and the BC Ferries ivory towers need to get through their heads is that the route connecting Prince Rupert to Skidegate is no less a highway than the above examples.
Perhaps if they spent significant time on Haida Gwaii they would realize that.