Cutting ferry routes will hurt tourism, Routley tells Legislature
The MLA for the Cowichan Valley insists B.C.’s ferry system already discourages people from visiting Vancouver Island, and proposed legislation to update the Coastal Ferry Act could hurt tourism even more.
On the second-last day of the spring session at the Legislature, Bill Routley argued that poor management of the system has led to high fees, which in turn has dissuaded many from mainland B.C., other provinces and the United States from making Vancouver Island their holiday destination. And with one local route on the potential chopping block, he said the situation may get worse.
“The Mill Bay ferry, for example. You know, the Chamber of Commerce, the CVRD, all the municipal directors are unanimous in saying we have to keep control of that ferry system.
“Whether you’re a resort community and you’ve had all kinds of tourism opportunities lost in a place like Salt Spring Island… this Bill 47 will potentially cut off dependant communities from their marine highway.”
Routley also criticized a clause in the act that would allow the B.C. Ferries' Commissioner to cancel routes at his or her discretion.
Routley said he and other MLAs likely won't have a chance to question the government further on Bill 47 because the Liberals plan to bring in closure on the final day of the spring session at the Legislature, May 31, and pass several bills without further debate.
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