No ferry closures

There has been a lot of discussion lately about BC Ferries and I want to clear up some of the confusion.

There has been a lot of discussion lately about BC Ferries, the ferry terminals and passenger-only ferries here in Nanaimo, and I want to clear up some of the confusion.

First, I want to reassure everyone that there are no plans to close either the Departure Bay or Duke Point ferry terminals — both are needed to handle the traffic heading to the mid- and north-Island.

That being said, the Ministry of Transportation and Infrastructure, along with BC Ferries, will look at how to keep ferries affordable, efficient and sustainable. To help reach these goals, BC Ferries will make service reductions of $18.9 million by April 2016. This includes service reductions on the three major routes between the Island and the mainland.

In addition, there will be continued analysis of opportunities for further savings and efficiencies when significant capital investments are being planned.

Second, there are no plans for BC Ferries to offer its own passenger-only ferry services to compete with private sector operators. As service reductions take effect at BC Ferries, private delivery of passenger-only service may help reduce the impacts of service reductions to BC Ferries’ mid-Island routes. I would encourage companies working with the City of Nanaimo on plans for this type of service to continue to do so.

Through this type of long-term planning, BC Ferries will be able to continue to provide quality services for mid-Vancouver Island.

Michelle Stilwell, MLA

Parksville-Qualicum

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