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Ferry party connects ‘outer and inner ‘ islanders this Friday
By RON PITHER
Holding and gaining ground with BC Ferries this Friday afternoon in an ethical, fun and serious fashion is what is in store if you leave Long Harbour at 3:55 p.m. for a convenient round-the-islands evening route that gets you home to slum further on the “inner island” of Salt Spring.
Or you can stay unplugged overnight, tasting terroire of the Outer Islands and float back variously the next day or maybe never! Gowned Queen Sue barrelled up with invitations to all for the upcoming Harvest Grape Stomp, Nashville’s Cowboy Ted hosting local musicians on board and at ports of call mixed with community tours of businesses and industries like innovative recycling centres and localvore food services are all on tap. If we top out the smallish ferry passenger limits, tugboats, fisboats and other vessels are standing by to help carry the load the way boaters can do.
Seriously, though, BC Ferries is now in the third year of actively resisting a common-sense approach to revealing this summertime-convenient Friday all-island return route with many passenger layover options that has no operational or safety concerns that they have been able to provide me. Ms. PR for BCF Deb Marshall last week stated that there was no record of my concerns. Well, I impatiently threw away my customer complaint number last year after talking to two different departments and getting word back from the BCF revenue department that they would do nothing to market the route or see to adding a “TR” schedule note regarding the existing doable transfer at Sturdies that they in my view have unfairly charged me (and many other Mayners and Penderites who already know this route). Their half-hearted make-peace a la golden “Hahnshake” offered in the Driftwood last week only to me is muddled thinking and everyone deserves the fair fare treatment that they were prepared to give me in a special letter.
More wholehearted would be to not charge everyone for the leg from Sturdies Bay and clearly mark the route as having a transfer (not any much different than what Saturnalites get for no charge when they use Sturdies or Village Bay as a transfer).
In this case that clearly would increase inter-island ridership and help serve community commerce, culture and inter-island wild times.
BC Ferries’ bonehead mandarin-class management can borrow $400 million at 10 per cent interest from international cartel German bankers for European ship construction rather than borrow the money required at their preferred three to four per cent rate for ships for our use here, while taking away Canadian jobs and shipbuilding infrastructure.
Well, I hope we all just have a lot of fun with this inter-island party on Friday, and “make the most for our coast.”
The writer is a Mayne and Salt Spring farmer and media hound who also likes coasting.