Island residents and businesses are eagerly awaiting a proposal for B.C. Ferries routes and scheduling. The Greater Victoria Chamber of Commerce has concerns about the Ministry of Transportation embarking on yet another consultation tour after extensive public input sessions were held previously.
The Chamber understands that B.C. Ferries needs an integrated strategy to achieve the goal of balancing its budget. The $26-million shortfall needs to be addressed sooner than later. To date, consultations have identified numerous options to meet these financial challenges. However, the Chamber feels that it is time to offer up a plan.
I commend both the province and B.C. Ferries for consulting the public on such an important economic driver for our region. A lot of time and money has been spent on consultation and the Chamber feels it is now time for the Ministry of Transportation to propose a cost-savings plan for public input.
Putting advocacy into action, the Chamber has launched a letter writing campaign to Minister of Transportation and Infrastructure Todd Stone, urging reconsideration of additional consultation.
The Chamber is concerned that continual consultation, with no plan developed from previous recommendations, will alienate those involved in the process.
Coastal communities need a reliable transportation solution that meets their needs. This needs to be done in a responsible and sustainable manner.
Businesses as well as other members of the community need certainty around B.C. Ferries service.
This issue affects many businesses in the Greater Victoria area that need to know just how such changes will affect them, sooner rather than later.
If anyone is interested in sending a letter to Minister Stone, please visit the Chamber at victoriachamber.ca to join the campaign.
Bruce Carter, CEO
Greater Victoria Chamber of Commerce