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Lobby grows to keep Disovery Coast Ferry
Tourism operators in the Cariboo Chilcotin Coast are joining the growing opposition to the decision by BC Ferries and the provincial government cancel the Discovery Coast Ferry, Route 40.
“That ferry route is our lifeblood, and carries many international tourists who are attracted to British Columbia by the rugged natural environment the region has to offer,” said Petrus Rykes from the West Chilcotin Tourism Association in a joint press release Friday (today) with the Bella Coola Valley Tourism Association.
“Without the Queen of Chilliwack operating, we will see millions of tourism dollars leave our economy, hurting businesses and causing unemployment.”
Rykes said the so-called cost savings in cancelling Route 40 will have a severe impact on the growing tourism economy in the Cariboo Chilcotin Coast region.
The press release goes on to say the West Chilcotin Tourism Association and a host of other business organizations, community groups, First Nations, individuals and small business owners have been urging the government to maintain the Discovery Coast Ferry route and to work with local communities to find the $725,000 in cost savings that have prompted the government to essentially kill more than 100 tourism jobs in the region.
“The Queen of Chilliwack has at least three more operational years ahead of her before a replacement ferry is required. We believe this decision by BC Ferries and the Provincial government will devastate the local economy and has been poorly thought out,” said Leonard Ellis from Bella Coola Valley Tourism.
Tourism and business organizations from across the region are working with local stakeholders to fight back to protect their ferry route – the only one in the entire province that is being threatened with cancellation outright.
“We are urging the Minister to work with us to find a solution that will allow the Queen of Chilliwack to operate for 2014 and beyond, but on a sustainable path that will meet the Province’s financial objectives for BC Ferries, without killing our local economy,” Petrus Rykes said.