Ferry Committee Report for the LCA AGM 2023

The Ferry Committee is pleased to submit its report for the LCA AGM 2023.   

 

Since the last report submitted in June 2022, the ferry service for Lasqueti Island was able to relax rules around COVID-19.  A fatigued public was able to feel like it could exhale, as the infection numbers decreased in line with the relaxation of requirements by transportation providers.  

 

The Lasqueti Island residents were able to receive consistent, albeit very busy, service during the summer months of 2022.  

 

Unfortunately, during the winter months, there were some departures of crew members with mate’s certification.  This left the ferry operator (Western Pacific Marine) without the ability to provide a mate as part of the crew, which in turn reduced the passenger capacity to 50 persons.  This was not announced to the public, and the Ferry Committee learned it from a committee member’s relative after the winter solstice period, when there was a passenger overload.  

After contacting BC Ferries about the situation, the operator assured  BC Ferries that the situation was under control and that there would be adequate crew coverage shortly.  

In short, this did not happen.  There were some runs covered, some of the time.  

As this was going on, there were more crew candidates being trained on the Centurion VII, but most chose not to stay.  The Ferry Committee has been told by crew members that the issue at hand, was and still remains, that the operator is not paying to current industry standards.  There is also some kind of dispute about claw-backs and deductions.  This has exacerbated the situation, and I regret to say that the two main captains have now departed for better paying jobs.  After speaking with them, one indicated that if the pay issue was resolved, he would be more than willing to return to the job.  The second said that he would down the road, providing the pay issue had been resolved.  One of the newly trained mates has also now departed.

The wage contract for the crew will expire in September of 2023, and we are all hoping that negotiations go smoothly, and the wage and benefit gaps are formally resolved.  

 

There has been a newly hired general manager at Western Pacific Marine, who has twice cancelled a meeting with the committee chair.  He also failed to communicate about the critical staffing issue at hand.  He has just advised that he will be looking forward to rescheduling a meeting soon.  

 

At the time of this writing, the ferry has run 161 days at only 50 passengers, and 

11 people have been left behind.  This does not include the cars that drive onto the dock and then turn around because the ferry is already at capacity.  

On Thursday May 25th, it was announced by the ferry crew that due to a staffing shortage, there may only be the capacity to take 12 passengers back on the return sailings that day.  Luckily, a crew member was found to cover, and the passenger capacity sailed at 50 passengers for the rest of the day.

 

It appears that the issue with staffing is not due to a shortage of crew willing to work on the Lasqueti Island run.   The situation is currently being looked into further by BC Ferries, who have said that they would “try to get to the bottom of this. “

 

It seems that Western Pacific Marine has been having difficulty meeting its contractual obligations.

 

Community members may wish to voice their concerns.

This may be done by calling and or writing to your MLA, BC Ferries, and the Minister of Transportation and Infrastructure.  

 

Derek Sweet

Marine Superintendent, Northern Islands and North Coast

Fleet Operations

British Columbia Ferry Services Inc.

derek [dot] sweet [at] bcferries [dot] com

250-627-0926 

 

Adam Walker, MLA

A-184 Second Ave West

Qualicum Beach, BC   V9K 2T5

adam [dot] walker [dot] MLA [at] leg [dot] bc [dot] ca

250-248-2625

 

Rob Fleming

Minister of Transportation and Infrastructure

PO Box 9055

Prov Station Govt.

Victoria BC, V8W 9E2

Minister [dot] MOTI [at] gov [dot] bc [dot] ca

250-837-1978

 

The LCA Ferry Committee would like to thank the community for its continued support, and wishes everyone safe and happy travels.

 

Best Regards,

LCA Ferry Committee:

 

Sue Kristinsson: skristinsson70 [at] gmail [dot] com

Tim Peterson: timpeterson24 [at] yahoo [dot] com

Peter Johnston: pjohnston [at] lasqueti [dot] ca 

Andrew Fall: andrew [at] gowlland [dot] ca 

Shelley Garside: shelley [at] garside [dot] ca

 

Comments

I am a newly hired deck hand,

I am a newly hired deck hand, happy to be working on the ferries and continue helping out the community. :)
When I was in Vancouver I met the new manager and at first impression he seemed competent to me.
Hopefully things improve.

Are there any more recent

Are there any more recent updates on this? I'm really hoping to visit the island soon, and it's crucial for me to know what's happening with transportation here, therefore I stumbled upon this article, but it's from last year, and I haven't seen any news for this year.

Also, maybe someone could

Also, maybe someone could recommend me some places for leisure and entertainment near the island? Hotels, dining spots, casinos, and anything else to have a good time. I'm looking to spice things up a bit!

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