In the May Mainstreet, Nicole Plouffe has submitted a letter with an update on the issue of changing the ferry schedule to an hourly (or every two hours in the slow season) schedule. There are posters around town, an on-line petition and a letter-writing campaign is on-going. The deadline for the negotiation of a new contract is right about now, but the good news is that there is still wiggle-room of three months within settling the contract to make changes, and we’ve got some MLA support going to legislature now! This is great news.
A quick background: This issue arose when a local was informed that the service contract was being negotiated and that if we wanted to see any changes made, the time is now. The Ministry of Tranportation holds that they didn’t recieve a great resounding response from the East Shore when the last contract was negotiated in 2003/04, although residents say that there were extensive surveys done and input given. A couple of form letters were drafted and disbursed to the community for this contract renewal time and a petition was begun in order to make voicing our thoughts more simplified. Residents have been encouraged to write to Minsiter Blair Lekstrom about our concerns and requests and signatures contine to be gathered.
Below is the letter from Nicole:
UPDATE ON THE FERRY LETTER WRITING CAMPAIGN & PETITION
The online petition has garnered more than 260 signatures with many great responses.
We’ve had some media exposure with Jayanti Holman getting an article in the Creston Valley Advance, the ongoing letter presence in The East Shore Mainstreet and www.eshore.ca. As well, I received some exposure on EZ Rock radio.
Those of you who wrote in letters to Blair Lekstrom may have received a form letter from his office stating that at this time and “current fiscal climate” they will not allow the increase to current service levels.
Obviously they had only a cursory look at the letters since we weren’t asking for an increase in ferry sailings but rather an hourly schedule that would expand the sailings from early morning into later evening. The savings on fuel would certainly pay for extra crew costs. Thanks to our Chamber of Commerce and other residents who came up with a cost evaluation over the years, but this information seems to fall on deaf ears in the legislature.
MLA Michelle Mungall has offered to bring our requests to the legislature at the end of May to formally present it to the Minister. The ferry crew has said that although the contract may be settled before that, there is a ninety day period which it is not set in stone. So, our ferry issue isn’t sunk yet (no more bad humour, I promise) and we still may have some hope for this time around.
I suggest getting more people to sign the petition which can be found at <www.change.org> and search under Kootenay Lake Ferry petition and keep writing those letters. (http://www.change.org/petitions/minister-of-transportation-infrastructure-restore-original-sailing-times-for-the-kootenay-lake-ferry)
I am going to present Michelle Mungall with the petition as well as a clear statement on what our needs are without any cost overruns so if any of you have any questions or remarks before I hand those documents in at the end of next week, feel free to contact me at email@example.com.
Send out the good water ferries vibe!
Nicole Plouffe, Kootenay Bay