New company awarded water taxi contract

Alberni school district signs $140,000 water taxi contract with Tofino Water Taxi.

Alberni school district’s $400,000 annual water taxi bill shuttling students between Meares Island and Tofino will drop to $140,000 this year as a new service provider has been hired.

Last week the school district signed a five-year contract with Tofino Water Taxi, with an option to extend for three additional years. The water taxi service takes up to 12 students per trip from the Village of Opitsaht to their schools in Tofino.

School District 70 secretary-treasurer Lindsay Cheetham said the contract allows for a three per cent annual cost increase to cover inflation.

The contract is for eight trips per day during the school year.

“If there are enough students then the number of trips would increase,” Cheetham said, explaining the school district would have to pay for any extra trips. “We are forecasting 30 students in the first year.”

Cheetham added the reason for eight trips instead of six is because the elementary and high school have different start and end times.

He also said the contract allows for pick-up at three different islands during one trip at no additional cost.

The new contract was initially awarded to West Coast Aquatics last month, but Cheetham explained the company revised their proposal due to an error that company made.

Due to their revision, Tofino Water Taxi was chosen instead.

For the last eight years, the Tla-o-qui-aht First Nation was contracted to provide water taxi service on the West Coast, which was subcontracted to an individual.

The school district paid $306,000 in the 2009-2010 school year, $410,000 for 2010-2011 and $400,000 for 2011-2012. A meeting between the First Nation band and the school district was supposed to take place last month, but hasn’t yet.

Superintendent Cam Pinkerton had said that the previous water taxi operator was charging per kid instead of per trip, to explain the high cost.

However, he also admitted that the boat was often half full.

The school district spent $1,700 hiring Qualicum Beach-based Woodsgift Enterprises to write the request for proposal for the water taxi and school bus transportation service on the West Coast. Cheetham said hiring a professional to write the RFP was a must.

“It’s not something we come about very often,” Cheetham said about writing an RFP.

“I’ve never done it before and I’m not sure if Jerry [Linning, former school district secretary-treasurer] did it before.

“It’s not easy as it sounds to write something like that.”

Just Posted

Thanksgiving Food Drive returns to Port Alberni

Volunteers will go door-to-door to collect non-perishable items

Tyee Club celebrates 80 years in Port Alberni

James Clark wins Fisherman of the Year award

John Horgan promises action after fatal mid-Island bus crash

Premier cites students, local Indigneous community as reason to repair the road

BCHL: Alberni Valley Bulldogs rally for the win with five goals in third period

Port Alberni team has won two games in a row at home

VIDEO: Grizzly bears fight along northern B.C. highway in rare footage

Cari McGillivray posted the head-turning video, shot near Stewart, B.C., to social media

Handgun crackdown, health spending and transit plans latest campaign promises

Friday was the end of a busy week on the campaign trail

B.C. woman photographs massive ant swarm on Abbotsford driveway

She asked what the ants were doing? The answer: war

Police arrest B.C. phone scammer linked to illegal call centres in India

Person arrested in Burnaby here on a work visa, says police

Air Canada forced girl, 12, to remove hijab: civil rights group

The San Francisco Bay Area office of the Council on American-Islamic Relations calling for change

Man from Winnipeg who was hiking alone found dead in Banff National Park

RCMP say the man was hiking alone on Mount Temple Thursday

Takaya, B.C.’s intriguing lone wolf, seen eating seal and howling away on Discovery Island

Fun facts about Takaya the wolf, like his a 36-hour tour around Chatham, Discovery Islands

Resident finds loaded shotgun inside a duffle bag in Kelowna alleyway

RCMP seized a loaded 12-gauge shotgun, ammunition, clothing and other items

Graffiti, calls and Snapchat: RCMP probe string of threats targeting Kamloops schools

There have been nine different threats made to four different schools in the city

Most Read