Tuesday, December 3, 2013

An ironic and sardonic solution to the ferry problem

I was thinking about Jordan Sturdy's idea that communities that contribute more to the GDP get more provincial "investment" in infrastructure.  I was thinking about what we could do to generate more GDP and as I was walking to the ferry in the pre-dawn darkness this morning, it occurred to me that we probably wouldn't be facing these ferry service reductions if we had a National Park on Bowen Island.  Two years ago we missed our best chance to develop a unique, vibrant and world class island-based economy.  It would have brought visitors over on the ferries that ran against the commuter runs, including early and late weekend sailings and it would have provided an opportunity for on-island businesses to diversify their offerings to a transient population of short term visitors.  Our utilization numbers would have skyrocketed, as anything running against the flow of commuter traffic pushes the numbers above our current 50.7% overall car utilization rate.

Ironically, one of the arguments against a National Park at that time was that the ferry would be overloaded.  That argument seems strangely wistful today.  Instead of generating MORE ferry activity thereby guaranteeing better service over time including probably a better terminal, we chose to limit our ferry usage, and now BC Ferries is proposing to cut the runs that we don't use.

But at least we have our nice quiet island, stable property values and lots of space on the ferries.