A bill introduced in the B.C. legislature Tuesday is good news for both ferry travellers and the businesses that rely on them, says Parksville-Qualicum MLA Ron Cantelon.
The bill, he said, will limit ferry increases to 4.15 per cent per year across all routes.
“This bill is to give the new ferry commissioner time to do a broader report on the operations of BC Ferries,” Cantelon said. “They were looking for as high as eight per cent and that’s not going to happen. Basically, we’ve said you have 4.15 per cent, so make it work.”
Cantelon said the fare hike is in line with the rising cost of fuel, which is the largest operating cost of BC Ferries.
The cap, he said, will come as great news for tourism-related businesses on Vancouver Island.
“People can plan their summer holiday, now that they know what the increase will be,” he said. “When the fear is that it could be as high as who knows what, they think maybe they should go to the Okanagan. Now, people say the increase is about what their fuel costs would be anyway, so let’s go to the Island.”
• Police are urging people with emotional trauma to get the help they need after a man drove his vehicle into the sea at the Swartz Bay ferry terminal on May 20.
The incident occurred on May 20 at 5:30 p.m. when a white pickup truck pulled out of the lineup and drove onto the upper loading ramp. The truck accelerated up the ramp, crashed through a barrier and launched off the end of the ramp into the ocean, sinking almost immediately.
Coast Guard vessels responded to the scene but were unable to rescue the driver. The vehicle was located in 35 feet of water and the driver was found deceased in the vehicle.
The incident is under investigation by the BC Coroner’s Service with assistance from the Sidney North Saanich RCMP. Police have ruled out any criminal involvement in this death.
The victim was identified as 29-year-old Jim Davies of Victoria.
Sidney North Saanich RCMP and the Davies family would like to remind everyone of resources available on Vancouver Island for adults that are experiencing a crisis in their lives. They can receive support by calling the Vancouver Island Crisis Line at 1-888-494-3888, or on the web at www.cvics.ca.
Wreck of the week
The Spanish brig Maria Asumpta had a varied career after she was launched in 1858, transporting textiles between Argentina and Spain and later carrying slaves.
The ship had engines installed in the 1930s and was renamed the Petita and then, in 1953, Ciudad de Inca. The China Clipper Society saved the 123-foot brig in 1982. Renamed Maria Asumpta in 1988, she was at that time the oldest surviving sailing ship on the sea.
On May 31, 1995, a small crowd gathered to watch as she headed into Padstow Harbour in England when the engines suddenly stopped. Despite the captain piling on sail, the ship drifted into some rocks and began to founder. Although most of the crew were able to clamber to safety on the rocks, three drowned. Captain Mark Litchfield was found guilty of manslaughter for gross negligence for sailing too close to shore with an onshore wind and spent 18 months in jail.