The following letter was sent to Premier Christy Clark and copied to Coast Reporter.
Dear Premier Clark:
I write to describe some of the realities of living in a ferry-dependent community; specifically, how the latest fare increase will affect all residents, whether as individuals we use the ferry or not.
Here on the Sunshine Coast, 90 per cent of our food comes from off-Coast. Virtually 100 per cent of other goods — including gas for heating and cars, clothing, tools and building materials, pharmaceuticals, books, school supplies, and electronic devices used for work and education — are brought here by ferry.
The latest announced hikes of 3.5 per cent increased fuel surcharge, plus four per cent fare increase will significantly increase our overall cost of living, not just the cost of commuting. How is a person trying to support her family on minimum wage going to manage?
Many residents of the Sunshine Coast are seniors living on a fixed income; it seems neither the ferry corporation nor your provincial government have considered their needs.
In some other ferry-dependent communities in B.C., the ferry service is treated as part of the highway system. These ferries are free. As a matter of fairness, coastal routes should also be treated as part of the highway system and be subsidized as the inland routes are.
It is past time for you, as premier, to take leadership on this issue and act in the interests of all British Columbians.
The experiment of making the ferry system a public/private enterprise has been an abject failure. Will you commit to returning it to the status of a Crown corporation with direct governmental oversight?
Lisa S. Price, Gibsons