The Sunshine Coast Regional District (SCRD) is on board with a letter penned by the District of Sechelt, calling for an increase to service on Route 3.
At a May 27 SCRD board meeting, directors gave their unanimous support to Sechelt council’s request asking the Ministry of Transportation and Infrastructure to direct BC Ferries to explore options for the Langdale-Horseshoe Bay route.
Sechelt director and Mayor Darnelda Siegers said the letter is in response to the reaction from the community after BC Ferries announced and then cancelled a trial planned for Route 3 this summer. Siegers said the letter is a way to have BC Ferries do the work to determine what options are available that could be proposed to the province to provide additional service.
The letter came out of the May 5 Sechelt council meeting, shortly after BC Ferries cancelled a trial planned to bring 95 per cent reservation to Route 3 this summer.
Elphinstone director Donna McMahon said she agrees with the letter that the levels of service on the BC Ferries contract for Route 3 need to be reviewed. Having only one ferry serving the route, she said, does not provide flexibility to adjust service levels to meet peak demand.
“I think our recent experience highlighted some other problems,” McMahon said. “There is a lack of confidence on the part of the public in the transparency of the decision making and possibly BC Ferries’ capacity to carry out some of the things they would like to try.”
The letter is a good first step, she said, adding that the SCRD should not be leading change.
“We should request that our MLA look at options for an improved relationship with BC Ferries,” McMahon added.
Gibsons director Bill Beamish also addressed the public concerns with BC Ferries, and said he thinks the SCRD should encourage better communication between the Sunshine Coast community and BC Ferries. He called for ongoing communication and regular dialogue.
“Between ideas there doesn’t seem to be much conversation. Surveys, yes, but not conversation,” Beamish said. “We need to express to them that they need to be better in touch with the community.”
During the meeting, SCRD board chair Lori Pratt said she received a notification for a meeting between the Ferry Advisory Committee and BC Ferries for June 3.
SCRD directors voted unanimously to support a letter from the District of Sechelt to the Ministry of Transportation and Infrastructure asking for increased service on Route 3.