To the Editor,
My colleague, Bruce Carter, CEO of the Greater Victoria Chamber of Commerce, says ferry rates are an unfair burden to Greater Victoria. Fair enough; they are.
However, I find one of his statements problematic: “Simply put, why do the citizens of Greater Victoria have to pay to keep Island communities viable?”
That sentence demonstrates how many in urban B.C. simply don’t recognize the value of the contributions of rural B.C.. They might not even understand that they need rural B.C. to prosper so that urban B.C. can continue its growth.
Carter refers to ferry fare increases as unsustainable and counterproductive. He suggests, quite accurately, that by increasing rates, B.C. Ferries is decreasing ridership, which, of course, hurts not only Greater Victoria, but all coastal communities and all British Columbians.
Urban B.C. should see itself as the front lawn of British Columbia, the most visible areas. Thus, they should be manicured and kept up to the best of our collective ability. Urban B.C. should also recognize that the back lawns, the parts less seen, are just as important to the overall economy. It is the back lawn that produces the gardens and often the foods that we need.
I invite the Greater Victoria Chamber of Commerce to work with us as we push for equitable ferry rates and schedules that are developed to increase ridership while allowing us to move our goods and people, for the good of all.
Alberni Valley Chamber of Commerce