Letter: We’ve only got one shot at this

Monday, December 9 2013

As Gabriolans we are all outraged at the manner in which the MOT has carried out the cuts to our ferry service. We are outraged at the amount and compensation of BC Ferries management. We are flabbergasted at the lack of consultation and the unwillingness over the years to listen to countless ideas of how to improve the service and reduce the costs given by countless volunteers on this and other Ferry Advisory Committees. 

We feel the unjustness of free inland ferries versus user-paid models for coastal ferries. As a result of this we want to mount letter writing campaigns, carry placards and embarrass Clark and her government into changing their minds. 

Now for the reality. On April 1, Gabriola will lose its two late night sailings and its two early morning sailings on the weekends. For the vast majority of us, these lost sailings will not directly affect us except in mind only. There may be indirect effects but I will still travel to work on the 7:40 or 8:50 a.m. and return home on the 5:00 p.m. or on some days the 2:30 or 3:45 p.m. I have only once been on the 11:30 p.m. and seldom on the 10:25 p.m. or, for that matter, the early weekend ferries. However, having said that, there are neighbours and fellow Gabriolans who need these sailings to maintain their jobs, their educational paths etc. I am not willing to jeopardize saving those sailings because I am outraged. We will have one opportunity to offer the MOT alternatives and that is this coming Tuesday. I for one am willing to be affected by these cuts if it will benefit those who are being affected. 

As a community, please do give serious consideration to the Chamber’s suggestion or some other alternatives to help those who will have to move or drastically reorganize their lives such that moving will become the only reasonable alternative. As a community we need to buy time so we can build and develop a long-term solution before we are faced with the same situation again in two years. I am willing to make that sacrifice. Are you?

~ John Woods