Four members of Hornby Island-Denman Island Ferry Advisory Committee resign

Four members of Hornby Island-Denman Island Ferry Advisory Committee resign
WatchThe resignations come as BC Ferries plans to cut sailings on nine minor routes. Those who resigned say there was no consultation with the local committee.

The route between Denman Island and Hornby Island across Lambert Channel is one of nine minor routes on the coast BC Ferries is considering making cuts to.

“I just can’t see that any cancelled sailings on our already reduced schedule is going to be acceptable at all,” said Doug Chinnery who resigned from the Hornby Island-Denman Island Ferry Advisory Committee Monday. Chinnery is also the Hornby Island Fire Chief.

The committee consisted of 11 people, but Chinnery and three others have now resigned.

They say they were told about the cuts with little notice and no consultation.

“There have been some disgruntled attitudes amongst the people serving on the ferry advisory committee for that exact reason,” said Chinnery. “It just never seems like a very consultive process.”

The local Regional District Director Daniel Arbour is also resigning. He says Ferry Advisory Committees that were mandated by the Province in 1993 appear to have little to no input.

“Absolutely I would say that this took us by surprise especially when they’ve been sitting on a decision for a number of weeks,” said Arbour.

“There are voluntary positions and it is unfortunate that some of these people have chosen to resign, that’s certainly their prerogative but we are in the middle of a pandemic and we are having to make some service adjustments in some areas,” said BC Ferries spokesperson Deborah Marshall.

The Buckley Bay to Denman Island route is also affected.

The exact sailings to be cut haven’t been determined on any route yet. BC Ferries is giving the committee input into which ones can go.

“We’re actually above contract levels with the Province and with the pandemic and making sure our costs are in line we need to reduce some of our costs,” added Marshall.

BC Ferries says there will be savings in fuel and overtime.

“Well, we are told that crews are going to continue to be paid even if they sit at the dock so people can just calculate what is the cost-saving on a run that lasts about ten minutes on a crossing,” said Arbour. “If there was massive savings from those things we could have a discussion but when it just seems to be a bureaucratic exercise it just makes no sense.”

Vali Majd has been a Denman Island resident for 20 years and says the cuts don’t make sense especially when they involve the new cable ferry from Buckley Bay to Denman Island.

“Doesn’t make sense with having this ferry that’s supposedly very efficient, environmentally friendly and you know they’re making these cuts and it’s penny-pinching and it really chokes our communities,” said Majd.

Dean StoltzDean Stoltz

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