What all seemed lost just a few weeks ago has been restored, albeit it for a little while, mind you, but at least restored.
Our faith in the provincial government and B.C. Ferries rose a few notches last week with the announcement by Premier Gordon Campbell that a one-time, $20-million investment will be made, allowing ferry service levels to be restored on all routes including route three, Horseshoe Bay to Langdale. Campbell's announcement, made during a television address to the province on Oct. 22, came on the heels of weeks of angry letters and emails by residents of the Coast after B.C. Ferries decided to cancel two weekend sailings. The money from Campbell also means a 33 per cent reduction in ferry fares for December and January, on top of a 50 per cent reduction in the fuel surcharge announced days earlier by the ferry corporation.
Campbell's announcement came two days after a raucous town hall meeting in Gibsons where residents voiced their displeasure over the corporation's decisions to cut the two key sailings.
Residents of this community can take some comfort in the fact that the meeting played a small role in Campbell's decisions to aid our ferry-dependent community. It shows that when voters squawk, politicians really do listen. Sure, we're not naïve enough to think that the 10-point plan announced by Campbell during his television address wasn't the start of the provincial election campaign. It most certainly was, but why should we be disappointed and angry at Campbell's decision? The New Democrats called Campbell's moves short-term political posturing and nothing more than political rhetoric. Local MLA Nicholas Simons said in a media release sent out on Oct. 23 that residents of this community need more than a two-month commitment for restored ferry service. While we agree with Simons on that fact, shouldn't we also be encouraged that at least Campbell, Transportation Minister Kevin Falcon and the Liberal government seem to be finally listening to the concerns of this community when it comes to ferry service?
For weeks Simons and New Democrat ferry critic Gary Coons slammed Campbell and the Liberals for not listening to ferry-dependent communities. Now Campbell pledges money to restore services, and the NDP still aren't happy? Talk about political rhetoric. Guess both parties are getting poised for next May's provincial election. Let the games begin.