BC Liberal arrogance on Denman Island ferry conversion leaves mess for waterways, community residents

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Former Liberal Transportation and Infrastructure Minister Todd Stone ignored concerns raised by the residents of Denman Island about the decision to move to cable ferry service. That decision has left the community with a mess of plastic debris and broken promises, outlined in a Vancouver Sun story today.

As far back as 2011 residents of the island raised strong objections to a plan by B.C. Ferries to move forward with cable ferry service for the Denman Island crossing, replacing reliable conventional service.

Despite those concerns, Stone was a bull-headed booster of the move, one that is now impossible to reverse without major costs and ferry service disruptions:

  • He celebrated the cable ferry conversion in a fact sheet he issued in March 2014 on his plan for the ferry system
  • He then doubled down, praising it in a letter to the Vancouver Sun in 2014
  • He also highlighted the ferry in his so-called roadmap for the transportation system in 2015

In addition, Stone dismissed community concerns brought forward by NDP Transportation Minister Claire Trevena when she was in opposition.

“Negative! Negative! Negative,” was his response to Trevena’s concerns in the Legislature in 2015. (Video)

By contrast, Premier John Horgan is listening to concerns about the impacts of plastic pollution in our oceans and for the first time in BC’s history appointed a special advisor on marine debris, MLA Sheila Malcolmson.

The NDP government also passed the Coastal Ferry Amendment Act, which now ensures that the broader public interest as well financial concerns must be taken into consideration when ferry services are changed.

Denman Island residents should be praised for their concern and stewardship of waterways including conducting cleanups of plastic debris caused by problems with the cable ferry service.