Thursday, 30 July 2009

BC Ferries ousts Trans Fats

BC Ferries is set to be one of the first to adopt the new provincial Public Health Act regulations which restrict trans fat in all food service establishments. The company claims that it now complies with the new regulation that all soft, spreadable margarines and oils meet the restriction of two per cent or less industrially-produced trans fat.

“We are very proud to lead the way as one of the first food service operators in the province to comply with the new regulation which will help our customers make healthier choices,” said Geoff Dickson, BC Ferries’ Vice President of Food and Retail. “In addition to being one of the largest ferry operators in the world, BC Ferries is also one of the largest restaurant operators in B.C.”

BC Ferries generated $57.4 million in food and on-board revenue last year. On average,the company sells over 200,000 salads, 1.5 million cups of organic coffee and 180,000 pieces of fresh fruit each year.

Not to mention all those big breakfasts, burgers, pizzas and deep fried potato chips.
Oh, that's right. They didn't mention them!

Tuesday, 28 July 2009

Province to review BC Ferries

Vancouver Sun reports...

The province is launching a review of TransLink and BC Ferries, Finance Minister Colin Hansen and Transportation and Infrastructure Minister Shirley Bond announced today.

The review of the publicly funded and independently regulated transportation authorities, requested by Bond, is aimed at ensuring customers and ratepayers are receiving maximum value for services, a provincial government statement said.

"During these challenging economic times, we must ensure that services provided to ratepayers are done so in a way that is financially sustainable and provides maximum value for all British Columbians," Hansen said in a statement. "Both BC Ferries and TransLink have been mandated to provide vital transportation services for millions of people, and we must ensure the governance arrangements are operating as efficiently as possible and the authorities are meeting their service objectives."

The reviews, to be completed by Sept. 30, will look at all aspects of the operations, from regulatory environment to corporate structure to financial performance. A final report containing recommendations will then be made public.

Bond noted it's been six years since BC Ferries became a private operation, and two years since TransLink's governance model was revised. "It is important we ensure both organizations are meeting their financial and service expectations that came about with the new models," she said.
The review will specifically look at the division of responsibility between the province and the respective entities; the size, composition, appointment process and compensation for the board of directors and the regulatory environment, including responsibilities, authorities and powers of the Ferry Commission as well as the regional transportation commissioner and Mayors' Council on Regional Transportation; and operating costs and service delivery models.

Weather Watch #2

ok - so whose idea was it to come back to England for the summer?

Friday, 24 July 2009

Protect our island environment

Art posters with conservation messages for visitors to the Islands Trust Area are now available free of charge to businesses and locations frequented by visitors.

Work by three artists was selected earlier this year in an art competition sponsored by the Islands Trust. Dawn Stofer of Denman Island, Debbie Bowles of Mayne Island and Darlene Olesko of Lasqueti Island had their work selected for the posters by a judging panel.

The message on each poster is "Please help us protect this special environment". I particularly like the picture (above) by Debbie Bowles, which emphasises the many different users we encounter on our island roads.

Three unique posters are available in two sizes: (8.5 X 11” and 11 X 17”) from the Islands Trust Offices at 700 North Road.

Thursday, 23 July 2009

Ferry inconvenient....

On Wednesday August 12th, the Nanaimo Port Authority will be closing the inner harbour to all marine and air traffic for a short period of time to facilitate an air show by the Snowbirds.

As a result, the MV Quinsam’s 5:20 pm scheduled sailing from Gabriola Island and 5:55 pm sailing from Nanaimo Harbour have been cancelled. Service will resume with the 6:25 pm departure from Gabriola Island.

Also, the Dangerous Cargo sailings scheduled for that day will be moved to Tuesday August 11th at 10:35 am leaving Nanaimo Harbour and 4:15 pm leaving Gabriola Island. Customers are reminded that these Dangerous Cargo sailings do not accommodate other passengers.

BC Ferries apologizes to customers for any inconvenience experienced as a result of these changes.

Friday, 17 July 2009

Weather Watch

Oh to be in England now that Summer's here......

Sunday, 12 July 2009

Ride the skytrain into YVR

It's still a few weeks before the Canada Line opens its doors to the public, but here's a sneak preview of the ride into YVR Airport Station courtesy of the Buzzer Blog...

Public Services start by Labour Day.

Monday, 6 July 2009

Fears of vandalism on the ferry....

extract of an article from the "Flying Shingle" - 3 July 2009

If BC Ferries upgrades lounges and bathrooms on the Gabriola ferry, will they not just be destroyed by vandals?Committee member John Woods asked this question of BC Ferries (BCF) staff at the June 16 meeting of the Gabriola Ferry Advisory Committee (FAC).

Woods was alluding to an upcoming “mid-life refit” to the Quinsam, the ferry that services Gabriola Island, and the fact that the lounges and washrooms frequently suffer from vandalism. He said that the crew sometimes will deal with people who are vandalising the lounges and washrooms etc, and sometimes they don’t want to.

There needs to be a plan to prevent the damage, or if it can’t be prevented a plan is needed to make repairs as necessary, he said.Chris Frappell, marine superintendent for the Southern Islands (including the Gabriola route) said that generally passengers are respectful of upgraded lounges and that the public are usually less likely to do damage when their surroundings are in good shape. “If you give people good things they tend to feel that they want to look after them”, he said.

IslandBlog says : The main reason there is vandalism in Quinsam's passenger lounges is that there is no view from the car deck of what is happening in the lounges. BC Ferries should consider cutting windows into the bulkheads between the car deck and each of the passenger lounges, so that there is a clear view into each lounge. The mid-life refit provides the ideal opportunity for this.

Gabriola Transportation Alternatives Survey

This weekend the long-awaited Final Report has been issued following the survey undertaken in May/June for the Ferry Advisory Committee by Vancouver Island University.

The exceutive summary of the report reads:

In the Fall of 2008, the Gabriola Ferries Advisory Committee approached the Dean of the Faculty of Social Sciences at Vancouver Island University to conduct a survey to determine which transportation alternatives the residents of Gabriola Island wish to have investigated further.

BC Ferries contributed $5000 to cover hard costs of the survey process such as printing and mailing, and to pay for the costs of student labour. Faculty members from the Departments of Geography (Pam Shaw) and Sociology (Linda Derksen, Jerry Hinbest) donated their time, and a recent VIU graduate acted as the Project Coordinator (Katelin Bowes).

In mid-May 2009 we sent 548 surveys to a systematic random sample of households listed in the 2009 Gabriola Community Directory. At the end of May, postcards reminding respondents to return their surveys were sent to each household. Two hundred and ninety-two valid surveys were returned, resulting in an overall response rate of 53.3%. This response rate is high enough that survey results can be considered to be representative of the population of Gabriola, within a margin of error of approximately 6% (95% confidence limits).

Respondents‟ top priorities for further investigation are first, integration of the ferry with the regional transit system (61.3% agree), second, a larger ferry with greater capacity (49% agree/strongly agree); and third, no change – the ferry should continue to operate "as is‟ and "where is‟ (38%).

The majority of respondents, approximately 65% do not support further investigation into a fixed-link crossing (a bridge) of any kind. However, about 1/3 of respondents would like to see further investigation into either a no charge or toll bridge. Respondents are virtually unanimous in rejecting all options for further investigation into crossings of any kind to Duke Point.

Additionally, respondents do not wish to see further investigation into passenger only crossings (62.7% disagree); fewer crossings on the current route (75.7% disagree) or into smaller vessels (63.4% disagree).

Respondents to the survey were provided with many opportunities to write open-ended comments. The majority of respondents took advantage of this opportunity and provided very useful information which is integrated throughout the report.

A copy of the full report can be downloaded here