The ferry system to the Sunshine Coast is broken. After another ferry breakdown on July 6, I was trapped for hours on the tarmac waiting to get home from Vancouver. I was at the line-up at 4 p.m., finally arrived home at 11:30 p.m., and my lungs were killing me. Think of people with cystic fibrosis, previous lung surgeries, small babies, young children and so forth, breathing the fumes of vehicle exhaust for hours. And tell me, when do the ferries not break down? When was the last long weekend we didn’t have a ferry breakdown?
Another thing is the unfair ferry reservation system. There should be no reservation system. First there, first loaded is the egalitarian way to go. As it is, it’s perceived as a money grab by the ferry corporation, the result of which creates a two-tier, second-class operation. And the money doesn’t seem to go towards upkeep of the ferries. For what is an extension of a highway, such a practice should be stopped immediately. It also creates confusion, especially during extended wait times in line-ups with confused drivers trying to get into where they’re “supposed” to go. Or, on the other hand, panic at the thought of losing a reservation due to unforeseen circumstances.
And what do these breakdowns result in? When you think of the cost in lost human work hours, lost vacation hours, wasted gasoline, the unhealthy situation of being stuck in a cesspool of toxic vehicle emissions, not to mention the addition of more carbon into the atmosphere, the only answer is a bridge. Having a bridge to the Sunshine Coast would leave more space in Horseshoe Bay for the Nanaimo travellers and we would not be held hostage to an unmanageable, unfair, anxiety-causing waste of our lives.