Letter: Response to Jeremy Baker’s letter of October 31

Tuesday, November 21 2017

I read with some dismay the letter submitted in the October 31 Sounder by Mr. Baker. In it he attempts to use Mudge Islanders to form some sort of argument to the Gabriola Island Ferry Advisory Committee (FAC) regarding parking. Mr. Baker states that Mudge Island websites say that the Island does not have a ferry service. Followed by the sentence, “This is incorrect, they use the Gabriola service to get back and forth.” I am not certain exactly which websites Mr. Baker is referring to, but the official Mudge Island website, Mudge.ca, does speak somewhat to this issue where it states that, “Mudge Island can only be accessed by boat or float plane, there is no ferry service to the island, and there are no stores.” (bold text is mine) The statement on our website is entirely true. There is no ferry service to the Island. Some Mudge Islanders do use the Gabriola Island route to get to Mudge Island, not all by any means. He goes on to say that “The population of Mudge is 200…”. Then suggests that this 200 number equates to 70 vehicles from Mudge that are in use at the Gabriola terminal. I have no idea where these numbers came from, but they are patently false. I am a full time Mudge Islander, having lived here year round for 9 or so years. My own unofficial census taken this morning shows that there are in fact 80 full time residents. This number includes year round residents, as well as those residing here at least 4 months per year. Of the 80, 36 are fully retired, 12 are semi-retired and I can count approximately 25 that work on either Mudge or Gabriola Islands. While most of these people will use the ferry to and from Nanaimo occasionally, most of our shopping or business is done on Gabriola Island. Of note however, is that I can count only 3 Mudge Island residents that would uses the ferry service on a daily basis. These individuals working in Nanaimo. To suggest that the ferry using population of Mudge Island could impact the overall Gabriola ferry operations is asinine. Saying all of the above, the part of the letter that causes the most concern to me, are the suggestions of either prior right, or ownership of the ferry that runs between Gabriola Island and Nanaimo Harbour. He states that “….they use the Gabriola service to get back and forth.” I assume the “they”, are Mudge Islanders using their service. And, the suggestion that Mudge Islanders use, “…impacts Gabriola residents, especially in the summer months.” Mr. Baker, this ferry is not for the exclusive use of Gabriola residents. Not only do we Mudge Islanders use it, so too do those from DeCourcey and Ruxton Islands; tourists, tradespeople, business deliveries etc.. While I expect that Mr. Bakers choice of words was not intended to cause offence, they have. In closing, I would again suggest that if people do feel the need to involve Mudge Islanders in their discussions or arguments, that they spend some effort in ensuring accuracy of statements made.

~ Douglas MacDonald 

Mudge Island BC