Claire Trevena, the Minister of Transportation and Infrastructure and MLA for the North Island, came in for an exclusive interview with the North Island Gazette on Feb. 2, where she discussed topics ranging from Christy Clark, to BC Ferries, to the E&N corridor, and fish farms.
On Christy Clark:
What are your thoughts on Christy Clark’s time in office?
There are a lot of monsters under the bed that we are dealing with. They left ICBC as a complete wreck, and that’s going to have an affect on everybody in this province. They have left so many other disasters around, and we are working on behalf of the people of BC to try and make life affordable, to make the services work, and to grow the economy. It’s disgraceful the BC liberals allowed this to happen, and now we are left to clean it up.
On BC Ferries:
Where is the BC Ferries system review currently at?
The ferries review has started and I should get a report by June. It’s an operational review on how BC Ferries is working, everything from organizational structure, to how fares are set, to how communities are served. The real thing I’m looking for from that review is how BC Ferries can work for the good of communities that are served by the ferry system. We have communities up and down the coast that rely on ferries, whether it is Port Hardy, Campbell River, Galiano Island – I want to ensure the ferry system is working in the interest of coastal communities and those who live and work in coastal communities.
How do you reconcile the criticism over demanding ferries be made part of the highway system while in opposition, but don’t appear to support it now?
In opposition, I was talking about BC Ferries as part of our marine highway, and I still say it’s part of our marine highway. There’s no question BC Ferries is a marine highway network. It links our communities, and has a very strange hybrid between a highway system and a public transit system. You get on your ferry and it links highways. It’s right there, but you also use it like you use a bus. For me, one of the most troubling things is that in a transit system, when you pay a fare you’re not paying for the cost of a bus, but when you’re paying your BC Ferry fare you are also paying for the cost of new ferries and new infrastructure. Our highway system is paid through the public purse, and the investment in BC Ferries comes from government, so we need to have some relativity to the needs of the public.
On rail service:
Do you believe Westshore-Victoria commuter rail service on the E&N corridor is a good idea?
We are examining what we can do with the E&N corridor – the crawl in and out of Victoria from the Westshore is extremely frustrating for people, I know that. We are working as quickly as possible to try and deal with that. We’re looking at the whole corridor – not just the E&N – we’re looking at the bus lanes, we’re looking at highway improvements, and we’re looking at cycling improvements to try and find the best solution there.
Are you supportive of the Island Corridor Foundations plans for the E&N corridor north of Victoria?
We’re looking at the whole E&N route, obviously it is something people feel very strongly about on the island, there are those who would love to see rail going back along there, there are people who would love to see it as a rail trail, and we are taking it very seriously, the whole E&N route.
On fish farms:
What have you done so far to follow-up on campaign promises to remove fish farms from First Nation communities?
It was always a platform that we were going to transition to closed containment. The state we are at now is we’ve had government-to-government-to-government meetings. The Province of BC, the Minister of Agriculture, the Minister of Forest Lands Natural Resource Development, the Minister of Environment, and the Minister of Indigenous Relations, along with federal counterparts and First Nations government have sat down this week to talk about ways forward. They will be meeting again, and obviously there is a dialogue with the industry as well.
Are you personally for or against fish farms?
It’s nothing personal with me at all, we are working government-to-government-to-government on this one and talking with industry.