The Province wants to hear from the public about what the future of coastal ferry service should look like.
On a cold, drizzly morning at Marina Park in Comox, Minister of Transportation and Infrastructure Claire Trevena announced the next phase of the Province’s consultation process to develop this vision.
“There’s significant investment happening in ferries at the moment, and it’s time really to have a sense where we’re going as a province on the ferry system, to redefine what the service is into the future,” she said during the announcement.
Trevena was joined by her colleagues in the legislature Ronna-Rae Leonard, MLA for Courtenay-Comox, and Sheila Malcolmson, MLA for Nanaimo.
“The Province hasn’t had a new vision for the ferry service for many, many years,” Trevena said.
The process kicked off Sunday and will allow the public to provide comments online for a seven-week period.
“We’ll be taking all of that and really developing that vision,” she said.
The idea, Trevena said, is to get a long-term picture of what ferry service in coastal communities should be like over the next 20, 30, even 40 years.
This public input period marks the second phase of the process. Last October and November, the Province held forums to discuss ideas. In all, there were seven meetings that took place, with 130 stakeholders and community leaders sharing ideas about how service should develop in the coming years.
Trevena points to some key themes that emerged from this process: the need to support efficient end-to-end travel for people and goods; to be equitable and accessible; to mitigate and respond to challenges presented by climate change and environmental issues; and to reflect the values of communities in coastal areas that rely on the system.
“These are the building blocks for this next phase,” Trevena said.
Now, the onus is on the public to provide its input.
“Have a say in what the ferry system should look like,” Trevena said. “What is it that’s important to you, whether you use ferries for work, for vacations, for going to school, for visiting relatives or just for your community. How do you think a ferry system should evolve into the future.”
Until March 20, people should provide comments online at engage.gov.bc.ca/coastalferries