Letter: MOTI issues

Tuesday, October 10 2017

The ferry lineup parking problems are becoming more difficult due to competition between customers attempting to board the next ferry. We all know by now that the Taylor Bay Road ferry parking is outmoded and inadequate.

The road has been out of date for years and now that the population base has expanded, the rush to get in line is becoming more unfair and dangerous, with expertise in last minute 180 degree U-turns sadly lacking. The RCMP have the responsibility for ensuring that drivers only use designated U-turn locations but they have to be onsite to enforce the law and hand out tickets. The officers do not know which sailings are going to be overloaded, and this offers a competitive advantage to those drivers with quick enough responses to get in front of slower drivers.

 Last week the RCMP missed the worst examples of drivers intent on being the last vehicle to be able to get the ferry and bedlam resulted. The officers had to remind irritated drivers that taking the license plate number of lineup jumpers will not result in a ticket.

The blame for these disturbances can be found in the dereliction of duty by various local political organizations:

1. The Islands Trust head office in Victoria, for sending a letter to MOTI (Highways) telling them that the Gulf Islands only require road standards suitable for “rural” designation. This letter was in response to MOTI planning to upgrade Taylor Bay Road some years ago. Note that Gabriola is no longer considered to be rural due to the recent implementation of public amenities.

2. MOTI does not need an enthusiastic naysayer local government in order not to do any work over here. All it does for MOTI is save them money which they could happily spend elsewhere.

3. BC Ferries supplies good parking almost everywhere except Gabriola and will not help at all.

If Gabriola ferry customers have to be in town for a specific appointment time, they would be better off to catch an earlier ferry or be ready to compete for the last remaining spaces.

We might be better off if the NDP/Green Government decides to rid us of BC Ferries and return ferry operations to MOTI when they review the service in the spring and include the decision in the spring budget.

~ Jeremy Baker