Friday, January 4, 2013

BC's slow ferry fiasco

Heading to Vancouver Island January 4, I noted something while checking BC Ferries schedules. Here are the vessels in service today on major routes to the island:

Horseshoe Bay to Nanaimo
  • Queen of Oak Bay (built 1981)
  • Queen of Coquitlam (1976)
Tsawwassen to Swartz Bay
  • Spirit of British Columbia (1993)
  • Spirit of Vancouver Island (1994)
Tsawwassen to Duke Point
  • Queen of Alberni (1976)
  • Coastal Inspiration (2008)
Ships not in service
  • Coastal Renaissance (2008)
  • Coastal Celebration (2008)
When the NDP formed government, media kept the $450 million ($568m in 2012 dollars) "fast ferry fiasco" in constant play. For some, it's still a favoured topic, proving NDP unsuitability for governing.

However, where has been the analysis of the $542 million ($580m in 2012 dollars) Super C ferry inadequacies? Clearly, there are deficiencies if BC Ferries management parks them at every available opportunity so they can run ships that are 36 years old. We hear reports of high fuel consumption, inability to safely traverse Active Pass, mechanical difficulties and terminal damage but, regardless, BC Ferries management continued earning bonuses and other rewards these past few years. In fiscal 2012, the four top officers earned an average of $900 K, even though one of them, David Hahn, retired during the year.

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  1. For the first time in a few years, I travelled to Victoria in Oct. and again in early Dec. and I noted pretty much the same schedule. I also noticed one of the Super C Class boats sitting idle in Swartz Bay, docked suspiciously like it was to be as inconspicuous as possible.

    I think most ferry travellers are too concerned about reaching the other side, on time, to pay any attention or have any concern about the vessles. To that end the MSM works.

    I constantly encounter people who were too young or were not even born during the "fast ferry fiasco" and so, are relying on negative press and hand-me-down horrors from their elders. Again, to that end the MSM has worked, just as it did for 17 years ('94-'11) by constantly bringing up the Stanley Cup riots. You can't convince me that steady drum beat is not a contributor to how the masses react and what they believe.

    Those same people who bring up the "fast ferries" invariably have little or no knowledge of the German built Super Cs, their cost and ongoing problems.

  2. As I said elsewhere: the Fast Cat Ferries have morphed into Ferries run by Fat Cats.

    I trust that the next government won't sell the German ferries for less than scrap value... but I sure hope they look into natural gas conversion.

  3. It should be interesting to see if the NDP once elected will do anything different…like fire the entire BC Ferry board for incompetence with cause. I fear that the NDP will do little different though and view this corporation as a place to park friends while handing out large severance packages for the undesirables now taking up the spaces.

  4. There are Admirals of the Fleet in waiting as we speak!
    Will they buy in Canada ferries with Chinese labour?
    I see no ships!!

  5. The real scandal that the MSN have kept out of the media is that the three German "Das Zitrones" are a flop becaause of a fatal flaw.

    Designed by shipwrights who build for the Baltic Sea, the three "Das Zitrones are ill suited for BC coastal waters, especially the lightly built landing stages. The prop-wash form the single prop have undermined the pilings at all docks they have used and over $100 million has been spent to retro-fit the terminals to accommodate these vessels. Both Duke Point and Tsawwassen ferry landings are well protected by concrete, but from what I have been told, all other landing docks are susceptible to damage.

    Added to this major problem, unusually highr fuel consumption and a stability problem wwhen lightly loaded, make thse vessels unfit, except for peak ridership times.

    The Fast-ferry debacle, showed us what happens when politics clash with ferry operations, the costs to date of the German built "Zitrones" equal that of the Fast-ferries, just because Gordo the Gaunt, wanted to punish BC union workers.

    We arstuckck with these lemons.

  6. the ferry corporation, like so much of the lieberal efforts to ensure friends & family do well, hasn't worked for the rest of us in B.C. Especially those of us who use the ferries. there is nothing wrong with the ferry system which can't be cured by firing the executives & hiring a new group. We could hire the CEO of the washington state ferry system, double his salary & we'd still save 50% on the current B.C. ferries CEO salary.

    The B.C. Ferries corp need to be returned to a Crown Corp so we can save money on interest. Having the ferries built in Germany enabled campbell to borrow from the German banks. He then took out a tad extra, charged it to tthe B.C. Ferries & put it in general revenue. All of this at 10% interest. If B.C. Ferries were a Crown Corp. the interst rate would be 3%. .

    Yes I have noticed the old ferries seem to be in service more than the new ones. The new ones just seem to be parked here & there. They do look nice but if they don't run, what is the point. Don't expect the lame stream media to tell the public anything about the real issues facing B.C. & certainly not about el gordo's el tubs from Germany.

  7. Worse than the fast cats...this gets better all the time. The "litany of BC Liberal horror's" grows by the day. At a terrible cost to the taxpayer, let alone employment in this province. Fraud is fraud, no matter how its spun...

  8. PR expert David Hahn cultivated relationships with the media so that they would never examine his failures. He may not have been a competent manager of the ferry operation, but he was a successful self promoter. New CEO Corrigan is neither.



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