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

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

A nurse performs a test on a patient at a drive-in COVID-19 clinic in Montreal, on Wednesday, October 21, 2020. (THE CANADIAN PRESS/Paul Chiasson)
30 new COVID-19 cases, five more deaths in Interior Health

This brings the total number of cases to 7,271 since testing began

Williams Lake’s Brock Hoyer films a segment of the newly-released The Way Home in the city of Revelstoke. (Ryen Dunford photo)
Brock Hoyer stars in new snowbike film: The Way Home

The film is completely free and was released on YouTube on Jan. 22, 2021

The body of Kenneth Seymour Michell was discovered Jan. 14, 2021, behind a Williams Lake business a day after he was released by a judge on conditions. (Photo submitted)
Family looks for answers after Indigenous man dies by suicide following release from custody

System does not care about Indigenous peoples, says First Nations Leadership Council

FILE – A COVID-19 vaccine being prepared. (Olivia Sullivan/Sound Publishing)
B.C. seniors 80 years and older to get COVID vaccine details over next 2 weeks: Henry

Province is expanding vaccine workforce as officials ramp up age-based rollout

Interior Health reported 43 new COVID-19 cases in the region Feb. 23, 2021 and no additional deaths. (Jennifer Smith - Morning Star)
43 new cases of COVID reported in Interior Health

No new deaths, Williams Lake outbreak over

Dr. Bonnie Henry talk about the next steps in B.C.'s COVID-19 Immunization Plan during a press conference at Legislature in Victoria, B.C., on Friday, January 22, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chad Hipolito
456 new COVID-19 cases in B.C., 2 deaths

Since January 2020, 78,278 have tested positive for the novel coronavirus in B.C.

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

A health-care worker prepares a dose of the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine at a UHN COVID-19 vaccine clinic in Toronto on Thursday, January 7, 2021. (THE CANADIAN PRESS/Nathan Denette)
Vaccinating essential workers before seniors in B.C. could save lives: experts

A new study says the switch could also save up to $230 million in provincial health-care costs

The late Michael Gregory, 57, is accused of sexually exploiting six junior high students between 1999 and 2005. (Pixabay)
Former Alberta teacher accused of sexually assaulting students found dead in B.C.

Mounties say Michael Gregory’s death has been deemed ‘non-suspicious’

According to a new poll, a majority of Canadians want to see illicit drugs decriminalized. (THE ASSOCIATED PRESS)
Majority of Canadians think it’s high time to decriminalize illicit drugs: poll

More than two-times the B.C. residents know someone who died from an overdose compared to rest of Canada

Interior Health officially declared a COVID-19 outbreak at Creekside Landing in Vernon on Jan. 3, which was followed by the first death from the virus 10 days later. (Kaigo photo)
COVID outbreak over at Vernon care home

Creekside Landing cleared of coronavirus, despite additional death in last day

(Black Press Media file photo)
B.C. residents can reserve provincial camp sites starting March 8

B.C. residents get priority access to camping reservations in province

Two women were arrested in Nanaimo for refusing to wear masks and causing disturbance on a BC Ferries vessel. (File photo)
B.C. ferry passengers arrested and fined for disturbance, refusing to wear masks

Police said woman threatened their pensions in Feb. 21 incident aboard Nanaimo-bound boat

Most Read