BC Liberal ferry fire sale leaves millions on the table

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MV_Queen_of_ChilliwackVICTORIA — British Columbians facing massive increases in ferry fares deserve to know why BC Ferries poured $15 million into a refit for a vessel, then practically gave it away, says New Democrat deputy spokesperson on BC Ferries Gary Holman.

“BC Ferries spent $15 million refitting the Queen of Chilliwack, then almost immediately turned around to sell it at more than a $13 million loss,” said Holman. “It’s no surprise that Christy Clark’s government and BC Ferries are hiding the sale price of the Queen of Chilliwack to a company in Fiji. They sold this ferry for a fraction of the cost of what they paid to refit it.”

Holman said that the sale shows again that Christy Clark can’t be trusted to manage the province’s valuable assets. The Christy Clark government pulled the Queen of Chilliwack from service along the Discovery route shortly after the refit was complete and negotiations for the sale had already begun, according to the buyer. BC Ferries is also currently short on vessels along the south coast. The fact that sailings are being cancelled on the Sunshine Coast and elsewhere suggests that the vessel had much greater value remaining in the fleet, even as a backup, than being sold for bottom dollar.

“While Christy Clark is busy grabbing all she can from the pockets of the middle class through rising MSP premiums, ICBC premiums, hydro rates and ferry fares, at the same time, she’s leaving millions on the table in bad deals,” said Holman.

This fire sale follows the 2014 land sale in Coquitlam’s Burke Mountain neighborhood, where Christy Clark’s government let go of land valued at $128 million for just $85 million – selling one 16-acre parcel of land, valued at $5.6 million, for just $100,000.