VICTORIA – Cuts to ferry service by the B.C. Liberals could mean the Powell River Kings will have to shut down the franchise, say B.C. New Democrats.
“The Powell River Kings hockey team will be seriously impacted by these reckless service cuts. The cancelled ferry sailings will mean they have to schedule more of their games on Sunday afternoons, which will mean their gate revenue goes down. If these cuts go ahead as planned, the team president has said the team may be forced to cease operations after 26 years in Powell River,” said Nicholas Simons, New Democrat MLA for Powell River – Sunshine Coast.
In Question Period, Simons asked Transportation Minister Todd Stone to respond to fans of the Kings who could lose their hockey team.
“The minister simply said these were ‘tough decisions’ – effectively shrugging off the serious concerns of the people of Powell River.”
Since the B.C. Liberals brought in the Coastal Ferry Act in 2003, they have failed to curb rising fares, declining ridership, growing debt, and exorbitant executive salaries at B.C. Ferries. Now, the B.C. Liberal ferry service cuts are making ferries even less accessible.
“This government is turning its back on our coastal communities. After telling media that his approach to these cuts would be to ‘look people in the eyes and talk to them about why it’s necessary,’ the transportation minister failed to visit a single community during the government’s so-called consultation process in the fall,” said New Democrat ferries critic Claire Trevena.
“If he had listened, maybe he would have heard from the people of Powell River that cuts that could result in the loss of their local hockey team are unacceptable. The government did no economic analysis of what their cuts will mean. Clearly, losing the Powell River Kings will have a negative effect on the economy of Powell River,” said Simons.
Simons and Trevena, along with other New Democrat MLAs, attended a rally at the legislature Tuesday to protest the reckless cuts to ferry routes.