I just want to thank SCRD chair Garry Nohr for standing up for Sunshine Coast ferry users by restating the fact that it is an essential service and a highway. On my first term on Sechelt council, I had a private meeting with then Highways Transportation Minister Kevin Falcon (with Mayor Cam Reid in attendance). I stressed the exact same points raised by chair Nohr over five years ago. I thanked the minister for the government's elimination the day before of the tolls on the Coquihala. I then asked him when he would be doing the same for coastal ferry/highway users. I reminded him that all inland ferry routes were free including the year-round Kootenay Lake 45-minute crossing, which is longer than our run. The minister understood our plight but said since it was a private corporation, fares were not up to him.
I begged to differ then, and I still do. The taxpayers of the Sunshine Coast subsidize highway construction and maintenance all over the province where it is free to drive from Vancouver to Whistler, for example. So why can't other mainlanders get on board with our ferry service? Pun intended.
Good luck to the Regional District chairs in their upcoming negotiations with MLA Jordon Sturdy. In my opinion, keeping up the fight and getting tough, as Chair Nohr has demonstrated, is our only hope.
Keith Thirkell, Sechelt