Bridge-Free Salish Sea


Ferry minister says he is not responsible for ferries (May 5, 2016)

Dear friends,

Last week I had the opportunity to ask the Minister of Transportation about our ferry system. We covered a wide range of issues from affordability to the contracts for building new ferries, and upgrading existing ferries in Poland.

Perhaps the most enlightening moment came when the minister said he wasn’t actually responsible for BC Ferries. That could explain the mess that our marine highway is in at present.

There is no question that we need to make sure that our ferry-reliant communities are served effectively. That is not happening and the minister gave no plan for how it will happen in the foreseeable future.

If you are interested in looking through the debate, you can read it here, or watch the video here.

As always I look forward to hearing from you and discussing ways to make our ferry system work for all who rely on it.

Best regards,

Claire Trevena
Opposition Spokesperson for Transportation, Highways, and BC Ferries

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Bridge-Free Salish Sea Reacts to the Gabriola Bridge Decision

On January 25, 2016, the Ministry of Transportation and Infrastructure concluded that while a bridge to Gabriola and Mudge Islands appears to be technically feasible, it would not be a cost-effective alternative to the current ferry link.

Further, the Ministry confirmed that the Government of British Columbia will not consider a fixed link to Gabriola Island at this time.

While the Bridge-Free Salish Sea group acknowledges and agrees with the decision by the government, we are left wondering why the $200,000 study was undertaken in the first place.

Minister of Transportation Todd Stone had access to previous studies confirming that a bridge was not acceptable to the residents of Gabriola and Mudge islands. He was also aware of the stated position of the Islands Trust against fixed links to the islands within the Trust.

The Minister initiated the study based solely on a petition signed by 609 individuals – a petition that was not even tabled in the Legislative Assembly.
Furthermore, the Minister also had no formal response to a following petition signed by over 2,100 people -1,641 of whom were residents of Gabriola and Mudge Islands – that opposed the study and supported the position of the Islands Trust in this matter.

While pleased with the outcome of the study, the BFSS group remains  concerned with the government’s statement that it “will not consider a fixed link at this time.”

In times of restraint, we islanders are happy to assist the government in finding ways to save funds and ensure the viability and sustainability of our marine highway. Perhaps returning BC Ferries to its previous incarnation as a Crown Corporation might be a wise first step.

Perhaps, before deciding to spend significant amounts of taxpayers’ money on any subsequent studies concerning a fixed link to Gabriola and Mudge Islands, the Minister of the day may wish to actually meet with those of us who live here to ascertain the wisdom of once again opening this can of worm.


Gabriolans, Mudgekins still awaiting report on bridge study

Letter to Todd Stone
Minister of Transportation and Infrastructure
November 19, 2015

Dear. Mr. Stone:

We are writing you once again to enquire regarding the study that your ministry contracted to explore the feasibility of a bridge to Gabriola and Mudge Islands. We have written you a number of times regarding the status of the study and have had no response from either yourself or anyone from your ministry.
We recently read in our local newspaper that “Ministry staff has said that the study into a fixed link between Gabriola and Vancouver Island will be released, but they have no timeline on when that might be.” We understood that the study was originally due to be completed by February 27, 2015 and released mid-August this year. Mr. Stone, it’s going on nine months and nothing has been released.

Given how richly and quickly the study was funded by your ministry having to wait nine months for the results is somewhat disconcerting. We still maintain that the study was unnecessary and the allocated $200,000, could have been far better used to assist in dealing with this province’s abysmal child poverty rate, supporting food banks or even looking at alternative energy sources.
However, acknowledging that the funds have been spent, we hope to see the results of the study before the end of the year – perhaps while the Legislative Assembly is sitting so that the results can be presented in the Legislature and debated by MLAs.

As you are aware from previous correspondence, our group represents more than 2,100 British Columbians and more than 1,600 Gabriola and Mudge Islanders. We are committed to supporting the position of the Islands Trust regarding no fixed links to any of the Gulf Islands, and remain strongly opposed to any fixed link to Mudge and Gabriola Islands. We would appreciate the courtesy of being advised regarding the status of the study.

Respectfully,

Stephen O’Neill
On behalf of Bridge Free Salish Sea


Memo to Government of BC Finance Committee

To: Members of the Select Standing Committee on Finance and Government Services
From: Stephen O’Neill, Spokesperson for Bridge Free Salish Sea (Gabriola Island)
Date: October 3, 2015
Re: The study to consider the feasibility of a bridge from Vancouver Island across Mudge Island to Gabriola Island

We understand that the committee recently received a presentation in Nanaimo in support of this study that has been contracted to explore the feasibility of a bridge or fixed link from Vancouver Island, across Mudge Island to Gabriola Island. The Committee Members are aware that the position of the Islands Trust on this matter is clear. The Trust does not support any fixed links to any of the islands within the Trust’s mandate. The original request for this study was apparently made directly to the Ministry of Transportation and Infrastructure via a petition signed by 609 people. The Ministry responded rather quickly with the announcement that $200,000 had been dedicated to have this study undertaken and completed early in 2015.

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Letter to Todd Stone re: feasibility study due date (Sept. 3, 2015)

Dear Mr. Stone:

We were provided a copy of a memorandum from Aleksandra Brzozowski, Acting Regional Planning Manager, Islands Trust Northern Office to the Gabriola Island Local Trust Committee on July 13, 2015, in which the Committee was notified that “due to staffing changes in the consulting firm contracted to produce the study, the Fixed Link Feasibility Study is still being drafted and will not be published this summer as initially expected. MOTI staff confirmed that the LTC will be notified promptly upon the report’s completion.”

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