North Island MLA Claire Trevena is looking forward to talking coastal ferry services in the fall and winter.

The province is looking for input on what coastal transportation will look like in the future.

Trevena, who is also the Minister of Transportation and Infrastructure, will be visiting coastal communities to get their feedback on ferry services.

“Having re-instated cuts that BC Liberals have made for thousands of ferry users, our next step is looking at what a ferry system should be in the future,” she said. “(We’re) looking at how people who live in coastal communities can be properly connected, how businesses can work, and how we can really make sure that everyone has an opportunity get to where they need to be.”

Trevena said there is a huge appetite for improved service.

“We are putting people back in the heart of BC Ferries, we have introduced public interest into the way that BC Ferries runs,” she said. 

“Now we are looking at how our marine highway, how our ferry system should work whether it’s moving people, moving goods, how we can ensure that people in coastal communities are truly connected.”

To start the process, Trevena will meet with stakeholders in Nanaimo, Victoria, Vancouver, Salt Spring Island, Sunshine Coast, Haida Gwaii and Comox. 

While they are invitation-only, Trevena said this is just the start.

“We are opening up to everybody from coastal communities to participate,” she said. 

“Everybody has a view on how a ferry system should run and we want to hear from them. We are going to be having online engagement, there will be community meetings organized throughout coastal communities through the winter, and we really want to make sure that people’s voices are heard, so when we are developing this vision for how to connect people in coastal communities, we really are representing the people who live in coastal communities.”

The process may include exploring additional ways of connecting coastal communities, such as:

  • supplementing current services with passenger-only ferries;
  • expanding transportation choices; and
  • innovations to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.

The ministry intends to launch online engagement in the new year.