Being an athlete on the Sunshine Coast is not easy - and it's not going to get any easier, thanks to the good folks at B.C. Ferries.
Athletes are already saddled with immense travel costs and hectic sailing times on the ferry to cross to the Lower Mainland for competition. Now B.C. Ferries is planning to make things a lot harder by eliminating a number of off-peak sailings on its major routes after Thanksgiving. If the plan goes through, some 6:20 a.m. Sunday sailings from Langdale and some 7:20 a.m. sailings from Horseshoe Bay will be cut, along with some 6:30 p.m. Saturday sailings from Langdale and some 7:25 p.m. Saturday sailings from Horseshoe Bay. According to B.C. Ferries, the sailings affected are traditionally the least busy sailings. I beg to differ.
Saturday and Sunday mornings are always packed with athletes heading into Vancouver for competition. There are currently 10 rep soccer teams competing for the Sunshine Coast Youth Soccer Association that all travel - granted, not all on the same weekend, but at least two to three teams each weekend. Cutting that early morning sailing will mean schedule adjustments, adjustments that may not be able to happen due to the lack of available fields. If those games can't be rescheduled, does that mean Coast teams get penalized? Or do the teams from the Mainland coming to the Coast to play get penalized and lose games and points in the standings? Sunshine Coast Minor Hockey Association is in the same sinking ship. They too have teams that go back and forth from the Mainland every weekend for games. Cancelling the early morning sailings is simply not feasible for any of these teams. On top of that, cancelling the 7:25 p.m. sailing from Horseshoe Bay is also problematic. What if teams are running late from their games? Maybe they were playing in Mission or Chilliwack and hit traffic and couldn't catch the 5:30 p.m. sailing. That means waiting until the last ferry out of Horseshoe Bay. If B.C. Ferries think that the 7:25 p.m. sailing is the least busy, can you imagine what the 9 p.m. sailing will look like with all the weekend travellers on top of three or four sports teams? The final sailing will be packed, and if everyone doesn't get on, then what? People have to start spending money on motels? B.C. Ferries won't be compensating for that.And it's not just athletes who will be penalized for the ludicrous proposal.
Shift workers who have to get to Vancouver on Sunday mornings for their jobs, young adults who work on the Vancouver ski hills and anyone who wants to ski or snowboardon Sundays in Vancouver will all be affected.
I understand that rising fuel costs are killing B.C. Ferries, and we continue to complain about the increase of ferry fees, but cutting sailings is not a viable solution.