Saturday, 20 November 2010

Snow arrives on the islands

Thetis Island webcam

Rathtrevor Beach,  Parksville webcam

This morning's snowfall on Salt Spring Island - as captured by Gulf Islands Driftwood

Friday, 19 November 2010

There's always one......

We've all seen them. Drivers who leave long gaps in the ferry line-up; drivers who stop alongside their pals for a chat; drivers making a quick u-turn in Taylor Bay Road to join the line-up ahead of the guy who's just gone round the turning loop.

But today, this idiot just took the biscuit. He (or is it she?) saw the chance to join the line-up at the North Road/Taylor Bay junction and did just that - oblivious of the chaos caused by his or her trailer, which was left blocking the whole exit lane from Taylor Bay.

Never mind how many near-misses occurred as a result - it's good to know that he (or she) avoided all that extra driving to turn round on Taylor Bay Road. Or maybe the trailer was so overloaded that the brakes wouldn't hold on the hill. Either way, you deserved a ticket.

Monday, 15 November 2010

Too good to last.....

Remember how we all celebrated back in October, when BC Ferries hacked a massive 65 cents off the cost of taking your car from Gabriola to Nanaimo and back, courtesy of the government's decision to let the corporation off paying import duty on its new ferries?

Well, let's hope you didn't let it go to your head, because from December 1 that fare goes straight back up again, because BC Ferries has decided it's time to drop the 2% fuel rebate.

It was fun while it lasted I suppose......

Tuesday, 9 November 2010

BC Ferries still want us to go to Duke Point

Last week, BC Ferries produced a document entitled Opportunities for Enhanced Efficiency in Performance Term Three to the BC Ferry Commissioner, as part of their Performance Term Three Submission, from which the Commissioner will determine price caps for each of the route groups for a four-year period from 2010 until 2016.

Emphasising that these opportunities for enhanced efficiency are not, in fact BC Ferries' proposals, but are "matters of public policy for consideration", the report goes on to propose the scrapping of two southern routes and significant changes to several others. Among the changes suggested is the following:

Change in Terminal Location for Route 19 – Gabriola to Nanaimo Harbour

Cost savings and better utilization of the Quinsam in the form of additional sailings, could be realized from moving the Route 19 terminal on Vancouver Island from Nanaimo Harbour to BC Ferries’ Duke Point Terminal. Please note this option was rejected by local residents in a recent survey.
Also up for consideration - and being promoted in order to deliver cost savings on fleet and terminal renewals - is the withdrawal of Route 12 between Mill Bay and Brentwood Bay, the elimination or restructuring of Route 9 (Salt Spring - Tsawwassen) and the closure of Salt Spring's Long Harbour terminal. Plans for a cable ferry between Buckley Bay and Denman Island are also still on the table.

None of us would argue that some of BC Ferries' vessels are long overdue retirement, and maybe it is time to review the future of the Mill Bay route (the only route in the BC Ferries' network for which there is a road-based alternative) but we must hope that the Ferry Commissioner will not be tempted to reopen the Duke Point debate once more......

The full text of the BC Ferries' Efficiency Statement can be found here.