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Newsletter

 

About Us

BC Marine Highways is a grassroots campaign organized collectively by a group of coastal BC residents. This website is intended to educate British Columbians about the significant role BC Ferries plays in coastal communities. We wish to shed light on the unreasonable series of cuts in service and the unsustainable growth in fares that is devastating rural coastal communities. We believe that BC Ferries is an integral part of the marine highway system and should be administered by the Ministry as it was prior to 2003 and the Coastal Ferries Act (2003).

Donate to our IndieGoGo Campaign!
It’s time to reach into your pockets! Reach deep and help BC Marine Highway dot org, the BC Ferries Coalition, and the BC Coastal Mainland Alliance make the March 11th “Defend Our Marine Highways” Rally an event that will make the BC Liberal leadership tremble.

 

We need money in order to reserve busses, take out advertising, and pay for event services.

 

Let the BC Liberals know that as far as austerity budgets go they have passed all of our line in the sand!

 

Click the IndieGogo image to the left to go to our IndieGoGo Fundraising page and contribute as much as you can.

I Live Here

I Live Here was independently produced by Jules Molloy and Chloe Straw of Gabriola.

Produced by Close to the Sun Productions.

Faces of the Cuts

The Faces of the Cuts campaign is a photography initiative designed to demonstrate to people across BC that the proposed BC Ferries cuts affect real people in real ways. Inspired by the desire to make this point in the most accessible and visual manner possible, activist Heather Nicholas began working with photographer Vanessa Haentjens Dekker (Tonic Photography) to bring the faces of their neighbours in coastal communities to the widest possible audience. The Faces of the Cuts represent whole families, businesses and individuals that will be severely impacted by the April 1 cuts.

The Gabriola Island photos are courtesy of Vanessa Haentjens Dekker of Tonic Photography

Protests

On Jan 18, 2014, 8 coastal communities dependent on ferries for their jobs, homes and futures participated in a day of action with a single message: STOP THE CUTS. Standing beside highways, they reminded British Columbians that Ferries are an essential service to communities that rely on a “marine highway”. Please distribute, share, use and embed this video freely. Created by the BC Coastal-Mainland Alliance, video by Tobi Elliott for Arise Enterprises.

Video and editing by Tobi Elliot of Arise Enterprises, Gabriola Island, BC.

Act

5 Things You Can Do to Fight the Cuts

5 Things You Can Do to Fight the Cuts

By Evan Putterill
December 9, 2013

Here are 5 simple things you can do to help fight the cuts. Each of the five points includes a brief overview and some include links to additional information:

  1. Understand the issue: Instead of cutting executive salaries, lowering fares, making the BC Ferries part of the Highway System, and providing adequate funding, the BC Government plans to cut $14million worth of sailings. 60 % of these cuts are taking place north of Port Hardy as follows:
    • Route 40 – Discovery Coast Passage – Eliminated
    • Route 26 – Skidegate to Alliford Bay – Slashed by 34.9% – 1st and last 3 round trip sailings each day cut.
    • Route 10 – Port Hardy to Prince Rupert – Slashed by 32% – Summer sched shortened, winter sched slashed
    • Route 11 – Prince Rupert to Haida Gwaii – Slashed by 27.2% – 1 sailing per week cut Winter & Summer
    • More info can be found at the following links:
  2. Write a letter to Government: If you plan on writing a letter please send it directly to all the following parties before the 20th of December:
    • Christy Clark, Premier of British Columbia – premier@gov.bc.ca
    • Todd Stone, Minister of Transportation – minister.transportation@gov.bc.ca
    • Gord Macatee, BC Ferry Commissioner – info@bcferrycommission.com
    • Kevin Richter, ADM Transportation – kevin.richter@gov.bc.ca
    • Coastal Ferries Engagement Process – coastalferriesengagement@gov.bc.ca
    • The letter should be CC`d to your MLA, MP, and media contacts.
    • For 5 facts to consider when writing your letter see the doc at the following link:
      5 Facts About The BC Governments`s Planned Cuts
  3. Sign a Petition: We encourage Northerns to sign the petitions that are underway in their communities. In addition to this you can sign the following online petition: http://goo.gl/lWLT0J
  4. Contact the Media: We encourage you to engage with the media on this topic by calling into radio talk shows, writing letters to the editor, and posting on online comment boards.
  5. Organize local grassroots movements & protests: in order for this campaign to be successful northern residents, communities and businesses need to get creative, this is where you expand upon our work.

5 Facts About The BC Governments`s Planned Cuts

5 Facts About The BC Governments`s Planned Cuts

By Evan Putterill
Monday, 9 December 2013 at 18:33

When you are writing your letter to the Premier or taking other action to fight these cuts you need to include your thoughts and how the cuts will impact you and your community, at the same time you should keep the following five facts in mind:

      1. No economic impact assessment: Kevin Richter, ADM Transportation, has confirmed that the plan to cut sailings is a political one made by the BC Government and that the Gov`t has not conducted an economic impact assessment to understand how the cuts will impact the economy. That means that they don`t know: (a) the impact the cuts will have on the provincial economy; (b) the impacts the cuts will have on ferry dependent communities; (c) the amount of tax dollars that will be lost as a result of any economic impacts; or (d) the amount that ferry ridership will decline as result of shrinking communities. They are simply making a political decision to slash services without any detailed analysis of how it will impact the economy. More info: http://goo.gl/x4lN9e
      2. Fares will continue to increase rapidly: The government chose the dollar amounts in the plan (for service cuts, operational efficiencies, and capital infusion) so that fare increases would be limited to 4 percent a year (double the rate of inflation). But by 2016, the pressure on fares will be even greater than it is now. Something else will have to give to keep fares from growing even faster. More info: http://goo.gl/x4lN9e
      3. Cuts will not fix the system: Minister Todd Stone says the ferry system will face a revenue gap between $120 million and $200 million in the next contract term, starting in 2016. There is no evidence that the rescue plan will close that gap, while there is some evidence to suggest the gap will grow wider. The roots of the problem are (a) insufficient government funding, and (b) overspending by BC Ferries, and (c) fares that have long passed the tipping point of affordability. Gov`t should focus on the roots of the problem instead of cutting services. More info: http://goo.gl/1luaLN & http://goo.gl/BnrnZz
      4. North Coast hit harder than the rest of the province: The Government plans to cut $4.9million (or 1.1% of the route group`s operating costs) on the Major Routes between Vancouver and Vancouver Island while they plan to cut $14 million on 22 smaller routes (or 13.5% of the operating costs for those routes). Out of those 22 smaller routes the plan is to cut $8.37 million from the four routes north of Port Hardy; that means that 44% of the cuts are happening on the Northern routes.
      5. Service to ferry dependent communities being cut while service where there is a highway is not: Inland ferries are free (funded 100% by the Provincial Gov`t) and many of them are on routes that have alternative highway access. The Mill Bay – Brentwood Bay route is subsidized by $1.5million per year with the Mahalat as an alternative that takes a similar amount of time. The Duke Point-Tsawwassen route has lost money for the last 10 years including a loss of over $25 million in 2013, there is still room to cut on this route. More info: http://goo.gl/nBbTb6

The following link is to our document outlining 5 Things You Can Do to Fight The Cuts. It includes info on who to send your letters to: http://goo.gl/1YtDJD

  • Coastal Population

  • Mainland Population

  • Coastal Tax Contribution (36%)

  • Mainland Tax Contribution (64%)

  • User-paid Costs

  • Government Costs

File a Property Assessment Complaint!

File a Property Assessment Complaint!

Want to Fight the Ferry Cuts?

 

Dig out your Property Assessment Notice!

 

Why? How can those be connected to each other?

 

The BC Liberal government’s attack on ferry services is, amongst a whole host of other things, a “theft of equity”.

 

Equity, for many of us, is our safeguard against hardship as we ease into retirement. We all watched in horror as our American neighbours saw their housing values plummet during the recent recession. “That,” we all thought, “could never happen to us.”

 

But by cutting back on public services and infrastructure, the provincial government has set in motion an action destined to eat through the stored value of your assets faster than an infestation of termites. The proposed ferry cuts are a direct threat to our property values. Realtors are already reporting property devaluations as high as $50k with steeper drops sure to follow. Business owners are talking about closing up shop while home owners wonder how they will continue to pay their mortgages in the face of local job losses. This will have a devastating, measured impact of nearly $6 million in lost business alone in our community with a swelling tide of similar losses up and down the coast.

 

The ferry cuts threaten your home, your security and your retirement. And that is why we want you to dig out your Property Assessment Notice!

 

It is time to fight back!

 

By refuting your property assessment, you are sending a very clear message to the provincial government that their books will not be balanced at the expense of your home.

 

Contact BC Assessment (BCA). Now would be good. You don’t have long. You have to proceed to the next stage by January 31st so… You can do this by:

 

The BCA representative will try to resolve this threat to your home’s equity at this level. Refer them to our elected, local government’s formal and vehement opposition to the ferry cuts and fare increases; Islands Trust Council’s letter to Minister Todd Stone dated Dec. 13, 2013 outlining 7 areas of concern about the impact of the cuts on the region Islands Trust Transportation Committee and Ferry Advisory Committee Joint Report that very clearly demonstrates a negative economic impact of these cuts on our community.

 

Insist on filing an appeal. This is your right. This is your home and your hard-earned equity on the line.

 

File a property assessment complaint. The Deadline is January 31st. To do so you can do one of the following:

  • Fill in the online form here: https://www.bcassessment.ca/eforms/online_appeal_form_PARP_2014.asp
  • Or your complaint can be mailed (postmarked no later than January 31), delivered in person, or faxed to your local assessment office, listed on the front of your Notice. Your complaint must include:
  • Your reason for requesting a review. Something along these lines may be appropriate: ”I am appealing the assessment of my property on the basis that it is excessive and unreasonable. Fare increases and service cuts recently implemented and/or suggested by B.C. Ferries causing general economic uncertainty have reduced the market value and marketability of my property. Since these factors could not possibly be accounted for at the time of assessment I believe this assessment requires a significant re-evaluation.” Refer to and enclose the Island Trust documents below.
  • The Property Assessment Roll number;
  • The property description (address and legal description) as stated on your Notice;
  • Your full name, mailing address, and a contact phone number where you can be reached during the day;
  • A statement indicating whether or not you own the property in question; and
  • If you appoint an agent, the agent’s full name and business phone number.

 

Once you have filed your complaint to request a review, you will receive a Notice of Hearing to advise you of the date and place to appear before the Panel. You will then need to phone your local BC Assessment office to arrange a specific hearing time. The phone number is listed on the front of your Property Assessment Notice.

 

You are encouraged to begin preparing for your hearing as early as possible. Do not wait until you receive your Notice of Hearing. You will need to gather and organize information to support your position, as the burden of proof rests with the complainant. In other words, you must prove the Property Assessment Notice is inaccurate.

 

It is important for you to present the best evidence you can in a concise and organized manner.

 

Bring five copies of any materials you wish to present to the Panel: three for the panel members, one for the BC Assessment representative, and one for yourself.

 

Please check out the Sample Evidence Package that’s provided by BCA to get a firm idea of what is expected. To help in this regard the Gabriola Rate Payers Association will be holding a workshop to help people prepare their Property Assessment Complaints and appeals on January 17th. We will also try to web stream the event and continue to host the workshop video on this site subsequent to that date.

 

If you cannot attend in person, you may send a written submission or appoint someone to appear on your behalf.

Hearings will occur on selected dates between February 1 and March 15. We can’t wait to see you there!

 

Links

Postcards

Send Christie Clarke a postcard!

Postcard Front (PDF)

Postcard Back (PDF)

Donate at our IndieGogo Campaign page!
RobinHood2It’s time to reach into your pockets! Reach deep and help BC Marine Highway dot org, the BC Ferries Coalition, and the BC Coastal Mainland Alliance make the March 11th “Defend Our Marine Highways” Rally an event that will make the BC Liberal leadership tremble.

We need money in order to reserve busses, take out advertising, and pay for event services.

Let the BC Liberals know that as far as austerity budgets go they have passed all of our line in the sand!

Go to our IndieGoGo Fundraising page and contribute as much as you can.

Discussion

Contact Us

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