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BC government needs to clarify ferry goals: committee chairs

The Ferry Advisory Committee Chairs are criticizing the provincial government for not going further to fix governance of the provincial ferry system.

Changes proposed last week would require the B.C. Ferry Commissioner to consider the interests of ferry users, but stopped short of acknowledging that the ferry system is a public service and should be run in the public interest, the FACC said in a news release.

“Unless the commissioner is given new goals, there’s no mechanism to consider those interests along with the continuing focus on ferry operators’ needs and the move toward user pay,” the release quoted Hornby-Denman Ferry Advisory Committee Chair Tony Law saying.

The release points out that in a report released in the fall, provincial comptroller general Cheryl Wenezenki-Yolland recommended clarifying the government's intentions for the ferry system.

Commissioner Martin Crilly said in an e-mail he is studying the changes the government brought forward last week, several of which affect his office, but is not ready to comment publicly.

The B.C. government created the commissioner's office in 2003 when it changed B.C. Ferries from a Crown corporation to a private government-owned company.

Andrew MacLeod is The Tyee’s Legislative Bureau Chief in Victoria. Reach him here.

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