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Apply to be part of the lower Coast's Ferry Advisory Committee by Jan. 15

'Now is the opportunity to add more diversity and balance with community members that represent those that live on the Coast and use the ferries'
Queen of Surrey and Coquitlam
The Queen of Coquitlam and Queen of Surrey at the Langdale ferry terminal.

Wanted: new Ferry Advisory Committee (FAC) volunteers for our area.

Southern Sunshine Coast FAC (SSCFAC) chairperson Diana Mumford told Coast Reporter that interested community members should forward committee membership applications to her by Jan. 15.  As chair, she will be working with BC Ferries (BCF) to coordinate incoming committee member selection by the end of the month.

An application form can be downloaded from the BCF website ( Once completed, it can be sent to her contact information which is listed under the SSCFAC tab on that page.

FAC members are appointed for two-year terms, and the option to stay on for multiple terms is open to those willing to serve for longer periods. No compensation is offered to FAC members but they are eligible to be reimbursed for travel expenses incurred to attend regular meetings and other expenses upon approval. 

“Now is the opportunity to add more diversity and balance with community members that represent those that live on the Coast and use the ferries,” Mumford told Coast Reporter. She would like to see applications come in that will allow for the expansion the SSCFAC’s membership to include representatives of local businesses, First Nations, those who use the ferry to commute for their jobs, families who travel for off-Coast activities such as minor sports groups, and seniors. But, in her view, anyone interested in working cooperatively to ensure voices from the Coast “are heard by BCF” is welcome to put their name forward. 

Mumford emphasized the need for any new committee volunteers to be willing to invest the time to learn about the varied aspects of BCF’s busines so that there are informed discussions made at meetings.

Current committee membership on the SSFAC includes representatives of Coast local governments, School District #46, Sunshine Coast tourism, and community volunteers. Representing BCF on the group are individuals from its operations, planning, community relations and public affairs departments. During 2022, the Ministry of Transportation and Infrastructure also had a representative attend SSCFAC meetings.

What does an FAC do?

According to BCF’s website, the role of the committees is to facilitate information sharing between the communities it serves and the corporation. FACs “ensures that ferry service issues are discussed thoroughly and all major points of view are represented and explored." The committee’s community representatives provide advice and insight that helps inform day-to-day operations, terminal and vessel improvements, schedule changes and other initiatives.

For its part, BCF commits to “respectful and transparent communication” by reporting back on actions taken on the feedback heard and providing full explanations when actions recommended are not possible.

BCF has established 13 FACs for the coastal areas it serves. The community members in each of those groups are free to hold internal meetings as needed throughout the year. Each group has in-person meetings with representatives of the corporation twice a year (spring and fall), and BCF has made a commitment to make those open for the public to attend. In recent years area FACs have also had occasional online meetings with their BCF counterparts.

SSCFAC accomplishments

The SSCFAC has been in place since 2001. Mumford has been involved since 2015 and plans to continue on for the foreseeable future.  When asked what has motivated her to stay on as a volunteer, she pointed to initiatives she views as committee “successes.”

“We did manage to convince BCF to allow passengers to stay in their vehicles on all decks during the voyage between Horseshoe Bay and Langdale” she remarked. In 2017, BCF introduced a policy that prohibited passengers from staying vehicles on closed decks during sailings. That change raised concerns for Route 3 customers, especially those travelling with elderly passengers or pets. The SSCFAC lobbied the corporation to keep one set of doors open on the lower deck of vessels serving the route, so the space would qualify as an “open” vehicle deck. By mid-2020 that adjustment was in place and travellers were again allowed to stay in their vehicles on all decks on Route 3 sailings.

The group was also part of the community effort in early 2020 that led to the cancellation of BCF’s proposed pilot project for a higher amount of reservations for Route 3.

Current issues

Current SSCFAC discussion topics, according to Mumford include poor on-time performance, overloads and the newest issue of potential cancelled sailings because of crew shortages affecting Route 3. An issue also on the group’s radar is response time for customer concerns. “It is now regularly taking over three months for a response from BCF.  All FACs continue to advocate for better communication – especially on the BC Ferry website” she said.

“Communication is a huge one as informed ferry users will be more accepting of delays if they know the status of their sailing and the reasons why. Incorrect or no information only frustrates people and makes travel planning so much more challenging.”

At the group’s October 2022 meeting the topic of improving foot passenger ferry service between Horseshoe Bay and Langdale was discussed. According to the meeting notes, “an integrated working group with BC Ferries, Translink, BC Transit and other transit providers has been established to discuss how to provide opportunities for travelers to walk on, reducing vehicle traffic on the ferries.”

BCF held a community “check in” meeting in Sechelt Nov. 23, 2022. The record of input received at that event is available on the BCF website.  Included in that are commitments to updates on the concerns raised and to return for a follow-up checking on the Coast in spring 2023.

Mumford said that once the new FAC is selected, the group will be reviewing the issues brought forward at the community drop-in session.