you first of all to the PQB News for the opportunity to bring the news and opinions of the Parksville & District Chamber of Commerce from the street corners to your doorstep.
The Chamber is “The Voice of Business” and provides that perspective to various debates in our community.
We will strive to use this space to be newsworthy and to generate honest, respectful debate on the issues of the day and their affect on the businesscommunity.
We are an Island and our major economic driver (at this point and a good topic for the future) is tourism. We have seen an increase in visitors this summer at the Visitor Centre although that has not been the case everywhere.
General reports indicate that tourism is down somewhat on Vancouver Island. We have seen an increase in visitors coming for the day from other parts of the Island and who wouldn’t if you don’t want to spend the BC Ferries fare to get off the Island, then you may as well come to the best spot on the Island.
Are these changes a direct result of BC Ferries fare increases?
Like any business, when your revenues decrease you need to look at the other side of the ledger and balance the decrease with a trimming of costs.
Either that or you can also do what BC Ferries contemplated and increase your fees, fares, prices in hopes that your product is so essential that people who must use the service will pay the bill.
I would prefer an examination of the whole ferry system.
This would be done to determine where service can be trimmed without alienating ridership; where service can be boosted, possibly with fare increases because the service is worth it.
I would like to see a schedule based on ridership needs and not on staffing convenience and I would like someone to be honest about the criteria for subsidies.
The routes and riders served by the BC Ferry fleet are all unique and different; one size does not fit all so the system must adapt to customer needs to be effective and economically viable.
It is our lifeline for so many things so until some brave soul builds a bridge we need to keep looking for improvements and opportunities.