Sunday April 20, 2014

question of the week

Survey results are meant for general information only, and are not based on recognised statistical methods.

It is a question of fairness



So, Keith Maxwell wants to play the numbers game (Coast Reporter letters, Jan. 3).

I rise to the challenge.

The biggest expenditure of BC Ferries is servicing the debt. It has gone from $64 million in 10 years to $204 million. It’s projected to be $1.2 billion 10 years from now. I cannot imagine what service cuts and/or fare increases Keith Maxwell has in mind that will pay for this.

Washington State ferries have a ratio of one manager per 40 employees. BC Ferries has one for every six and all together 600 managers. Even subtracting those on ships, the ones left on shore are way more than Washington ferries has.

There was a huge outcry about the bonuses. So the government rolled them back, but quietly added the bonuses to their base salary. That way that money also counted towards their pensionable benefits. BC Ferries is running a second pension plan on top of all the others, funded by the taxpayer.

Senior passes are fully funded by the government. If BC Ferries make seniors pay half, they will continue to collect the full amount from the government, plus 50 per cent more collected from seniors.

Maxwell says that our $5 million subsidy is more than a community of our size could expect. False. The yearly maintenance cost of the Sea-to-Sky Highway is $60 million, to service the Whistler community of 10,000. From Lund to Port Mellon, the Sunshine Coast population is about 50,000. So we should be getting $300 million for our “highway.”

Ultimately it is a question of fairness. All of us on the Sunshine Coast help pay for highways in the rest of the province, but on top of it we are also expected to pay for our own water-based highway. That is not fair. Period.

Klaus Blume, Gibsons



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