Residents of Hornby Island are calling for a bigger, newer ferry to ease queues and other issues that have escalated since the Kahloke was decommissioned last November.

In addition to ferry queues blocking roads, Karen Ross of the Hornby Island Community Economic Enhancement Corporation said there was “pathetically inadequate service during peak season and much of the shoulder season”, and a negative impact on the cost of living for residents of Hornby.

The situation has reached a critical stage, she added. Unless BC Ferries makes immediate changes, the Hornby ferry route will be mired in the next four-year service contract.

Over the summer, over 2,600 people signed petitions for improved ferry service to Hornby.

“Solid numbers for an island population of 1,000,” Ross said.

Daniel Arbor, Comox Valley Regional District Area A Manager, notes “continued dysfunction” among too many governing bodies operating a boat system. He said there has been an “erosion of trust” over BC Ferries’ broken promises.

“It’s a systemic problem with the Hornby and Denman ferries,” said Arbour, whose worst run last summer was the 5.5-hour run from Hornby to Buckley Bay. “They are undersized.”

He said BC Ferries is considering expanding the Baynes Sound Connector cable ferry deck, but many people think the company should bring back a normal ship. The Hornby ferry, downgraded for weight capacity, doesn’t cut it for three seasons of the year, Arbor added.

“What’s bothering residents is that Hornby and Denman, according to statistics, have been the worst performers for overloads for some time in the entire system, and during that time BC Ferries is doing double runs at Quadra and Gabriola Island. So everyone is taken care of… We don’t understand why we keep having the little bit of straw in the system.

Arbor said the Quinsam and Quinitsa (predecessor to the cable ferry) are available but for some reason not used for Denman and Hornby.

BC Ferries submitted its performance submission for the sixth period (PT6) to the BC Ferries Commissioner at the end of September. It includes many necessary service improvements for customers, including new vessels and short-term service improvements to increase capacity on some inter-island routes, including Denman – Hornby. BC Ferries Commissioner Eva Hage will issue her final decision on the PT6 price caps by September 30, 2023.

“BC Ferries is independent of government and is responsible for procuring new vessels and deploying its fleet to better serve the traveling public as well as day-to-day operations,” the Department of Transportation and Infrastructure (MOTI) said. in a statement.

Arbor suggests dismantling the company, returning small runs for the public good to MOTI and leaving large runs to BC Ferries.

“I think they’ve failed over the years to be community service,” he said. “They operated like a corporation, dealing with the bottom line and always negotiating with the government. So why isn’t the government operating it as a service for the benefit of coastal communities? »

The public can visit www.bcferrycommission.ca to view PT6 and provide feedback.


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