Wednesday April 23, 2014

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BC Ferries fracturing our community



On Saturday, Nov. 30, I attended the presentation by the BC Ferries Corporation representatives at Elphinstone Secondary School in Gibsons.

What I saw was a gymnasium filled with citizens from the Sunshine Coast who were concerned, anxious and angry over the recent BC Ferries rate hikes — in particular, the cost for seniors. The line-up at the microphone for those interested to speak lasted for more than two and a half hours. This speaks volumes.

The fracturing of our communities leads right back to our transportation, the cost of riding the ferries and how our families are being separated not only by distance but also by the sheer cost for their families to travel to visit them. Elders are the most seriously hit by this. One family has to spend more than $300 just to come to visit grandma and grandpa at Christmas time.

After attending the ‘Leaders for Change: Caring leadership for strong local economy’ workshop at the Sunshine Coast Golf and Country Club on Thursday, Nov. 28, it is more than ironic that while we are focusing on trying to raise awareness to support entrepreneurs and new businesses on the Coast, the ferry corporation is making it financially impossible. If an entrepreneur web designer finds that his clients are moving from the Coast because it is too costly and his wife has to travel into Vancouver because there are no jobs, not only does his business suffer, but also his family. These are stories that resonate throughout all coastal communities including Bowen, Gambier, Keats, Comox, Texada and points north.

This is the beginning of a unique multi-generational revolution on the Coast, and the time has come to fight back for all the men, women and families in coastal communities who rely on ferry transportation.

Judith Renaud, Gibsons



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