Letter: Good news, bad news; what’s really new?

I read with keen interest the Tribune’s July 1 account of Transportation Minister Todd Stone’s “announcements.”


I read with keen interest the Tribune’s July 1 account of Transportation Minister Todd Stone’s “announcements” regarding the marine link in the Discovery Coast Circle Tour.

The story managed to cover the “good news” part — the tiny inadequate Nimpkish will be replaced sometime before she is slated for a 2018 retirement — a bit of old news to anyone who has been following the developments.

Stone announced that he will soon sign a contract with BC Ferries making direct sailings between Bella Coola and Port Hardy a thing of the past (direct summer sailings were part of the marine link from its inception in 1996 until Stone killed them in 2013.)

“There’s not going to be a resurrection of a direct service between Port Hardy and Bella Coola,” Stone said. Now this was new news.

In response, Pat Corbett, President of the Cariboo Chilcotin Coast Tourism Association countered that the service Stone is planning “won’t work”   (because it involves a transfer partway that would be hard to schedule, it won’t appeal to sophisticated international travelers — the ones the tourism industry wants to attract.)

Corbett has been involved in tourism for decades, and along with the entire tourism industry, has rejected Stone’s decision regarding the Discovery Coast ferry since the outset.  Corbett pointed out that European travel agencies have boycotted B.C. since Stone throttled the marine link two seasons ago.

Stone, a five-month government rookie at the time he adopted the BC Ferries recommendation to scuttle the direct route, told Corbett: “We can agree to disagree.”

Stone would also disagree with Petrus Rykes, President of the West Chilcotin Tourism Association and Chair of the “Save the Discovery Coast Ferry Campaign,” who told the Tribune: “it’s a doable proposition.”

Since the Tribune’s account appeared, Rykes elaborated, saying:  “The marine link is doable — and can probably make money — but only if it’s run properly and if Stone works with the regional industry and BC Ferries to come up with the best model possible.”

Stone promised “community engagement” regarding scheduling of his new and improved “connector” marine link.  Such a “promise” is old news.

Delivering on it would be new.

Mr. Stone, agreeing to disagree is not “engagement,” and it’s not news that your position about your “tough” decisions has been fixed in stone from the start.

When it was noted that the marine link needs to sail on a schedule that is attractive to tourists, Stone responded: “That’s the input that needs to be heard and received loud and clear from the industry.”

Mr. Stone, this is old input:  Critics of BC Ferries have been calling for a better, tourist-friendly schedule ever since the Discovery Coast service was instated nearly 20 years ago.

Receiving the input “loud and clear” would be the real news.

No engagement so far is hardly reason to expect more in future.

Stone concluded his remarks saying: “There are other ferry needs in coastal communities that are a higher priority. When balancing our budget we can’t say ‘yes’ to every single request. You know what? You end up saying ‘no’ a lot more than saying ‘yes.’ That’s what governing is all about.”

Really, Minister Stone?  Is governing really about saying ‘yes’ or ‘no’ to beggars?  If so, this is news to me.

Ernest Hall, Reporter

Coast Mountain News

Just Posted

The first Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine dose in Canada is prepared at The Michener Institute in Toronto on Monday, Dec. 14, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Frank Gunn
One death, 39 new cases of COVID-19 in Interior Health

There are 484 active cases of the virus in the region currently

Central Mountain Air confirmed it does not plan to resume service to Williams Lake at this time. (Betsy Kline photo)
Central Mountain Air not resuming route to Williams Lake at this time

Scheduled CMA flights will return to Quesnel at the end of June

Gibraltar Mine has started calling back 34 workers laid off on April 27 because it has received its permit to reactive the Gibraltar East Pit. (Taseko Mines Ltd. photo)
Gibraltar Mine receives permit, calling back laid off employees

Mining has begun in the Gibraltar East pit

(RCMP logo)
RCMP investigating early morning assault in Williams Lake

An insecure firearm was located in a residence

Williams Lake City Council rejected a proposal Tuesday at its regular meeting for the city to host a junior A hockey team for the upcoming 2021/22 season. (Greg Sabatino photo - Williams Lake Tribune)
Council rejects junior A hockey bid in Williams Lake

The proposal has been up for debate the past several months

B.C. Labour Minister Harry Bains in the B.C. legislature, May 13, 2019. (Hansard TV)
VIDEO: B.C. to provide 3 days of sick pay for COVID-19 absences

Province will support employers on cost, labour minister says

Cannabis bought in British Columbia (Ashley Wadhwani/Black Press Media)
Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

BC Housing minister David Eby. (THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chad Hipolito)
Eby jabs back against Penticton mayor’s ad urging BC Premier to intervene in shelter dispute

Eby writes that Penticton’s ‘serious’ social issues won’t improve under leadership of the mayor

Provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry updates B.C.’s COVID-19 situation at the B.C. legislature, April 29, 2021. (B.C. government)
B.C.’s COVID-19 rate creeps up again, 600 new cases Wednesday

One more death, 423 people in hospital with virus

B.C. Agriculture Minister Lana Popham takes questions in the B.C. legislature in 2017. (Hansard TV)
UPDATE: B.C. will fund another year of fresh fruit, vegetables, milk in schools

John Horgan government working on school meal program

Surrey RCMP is releasing sketches of a suspect in an “indecent act” at the Coyote Creek Elementary playground on April 30, 2021. Police said the suspect was clean-shaven “during some interactions” and on “other occasions had stubble outlining a goatee and mustache.” (Images: Surrey RCMP handout)
Vancouver mayor-elect Kennedy Stewart addresses supporters in Vancouver on Sunday, Oct. 21, 2018. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
Vancouver mayor says there’s no time to redo details of drug decriminalization plan

Kennedy Stewart says a federal election could see the small window of opportunity close on the city’s bid for an exemption from criminal provisions on simple possession of small amounts of drugs

Premier Mike Horgan received his first dose of a COVID-19 vaccine. (Facebook/John Horgan)
More than 50% of people eligible in B.C. have received 1st vaccine dose

‘We’ve made extraordinary progress together over the past few weeks,’ says Premier Horgan

Most Read