Minister to MLA: Support LNG development to support ferry service

B.C. Transportation Minister Todd Stone says supporting liquefied natural gas development in the region is one way the North Coast could address concerns about ferry reductions along northern routes.

Stone made the comments during question period on March 11 in response to a question from MLA Jennifer Rice about the impact of ferry service reductions along the Inside Passage and Haida Gwaii as outlined in a report prepared by the City of Prince Rupert.

"Prince Rupert businesses know that BC Liberal ferry cuts will undermine the local economy ... even businesses outside of the tourism sector are concerned," said Rice, noting Pineridge Bed and Breakfast expects a 40-to-60 per cent loss of business while Advantage Print has also expressed concern about trickle down business loss.

"To the Minister, why is he trying to shutter the hospitality industry instead of trying to grow it?"

While noting people are "waiting with bated breath" for the NDP to suggest changes that would help the situation, Stone said Rice could do a lot to help the region by supporting LNG in the region.

"One good suggestion, one initiative that she and her colleagues would be wise to support and that would go a long way to supporting ferries, I think the member opposite might want to take another look at LNG and the opportunities LNG provides," he said.

"I might be going out on a limb here, but I think the LNG opportunities might be pretty good for Prince Rupert and the northwest. The honourable member who represents those areas might want to get on board with LNG."

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