BC Ferries

Fiscal unfairness, a BC Liberal tradition

Between Powell River and Texada Island, ferry service is by the oldest vessel in BC Ferries’ fleet, the 57-year-old MV North Island Princess, a vessel with capacity to carry 49 vehicles and 150 passengers. Sailings takes 35 minutes each way and there is no alternative means of surface transport.

The ferry fare for four people and a car is $71.

Five hundred miles east, between Balfour and Kootenay Bay, ferry service is by the 14-year-old MV Osprey, a vessel with capacity to carry 80 vehicles and 250 passengers. Sailings takes 35 minutes each way and using the ferry shortens the 125 km drive from Nelson to Creston by 12 km.

The ferry fare for four people and a car is $0.

In 2013, a report, British Columbia Ferry Corporation and Fiscal Fairness for Ferry-Dependent Communities, was prepared for the Powell River Regional District. It makes a number of reasonable points:

  • That BC Ferries “violates government’s fiduciary obligation to 20% of British Columbians who live in ferry-dependent coastal communities. The foundation of this fiduciary obligation rests within the long established principle of fiscal fairness.”
  • That unlike the ferry service, BC Hydro offers “the same base rate for all British Columbians regardless of where they live.”
  • The Liquor Distribution Branch “meets the test of fiscal fairness by providing for equal pricing of liquor products throughout the province…”
  • Despite the province’s mandate, “the public coastal ferry transportation of BC Ferries plays no part in the Pacific Gateway Transportation Strategy. This is despite the fact that the region serviced by BC Ferries has pulp and paper production, lumber and wood-related production, mining and other significant economic activities that are directly related to the mandate.” [Premier Clark stated that government policy was aimed at “strengthening our infrastructure to get our goods to market and generate sustainable economic growth.]
  • British Columbia “continues to fund and administer contracts for fourteen ferry routes in the interior of British Columbia which run free to the user as part of their obligation to highway funding.”

Categories: BC Ferries

2 replies »

  1. But you compare NDP territory with Liberal territory.

    With the Liberals, friends and insiders live off the largesse of the government.


  2. I think Evil Eye has it.

    of course some enterprising soul-lawyer could launch a law suit. now that would be fun and I am sure there would be some who would willingly donate to the cause-law suit


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