VICTORIA— Christy Clark admitted that when she made cuts to the North Coast ferry in 2014 it decimated the Discovery Route, and heavily impacted First Nations economies and tourism. Even worse, the chaos she created won’t be fixed for at least another two years.
“This isn’t about Christy Clark doing the right thing and fixing her mistakes, this is about a looming election and trying to quell criticism about her government,” said New Democrat leader John Horgan.
In 2014, despite a promise from Clark’s transportation minister that he would “look people in the eyes” when a potential cut to the Discovery ferry route was being discussed, he skipped every public meeting and consultation before announcing the cut. A study commissioned by the West Chilcotin Tourism Association showed that in the first year following the cut, $3.3 million was lost in regional economic activity, and $3.9 million in tourism revenue.
In order to make the bad headlines disappear, the Christy Clark government said they will try to bring the number of sailings back up and hope to have a boat to do it by 2018, though it isn’t clear what the capacity of the vessel will be.
“When Christy Clark cut the Discovery Coast route connecting Port Hardy, mid coast ports, and Bella Bella, even some of her own caucus members knew it was a mistake and that it would impact the North Coast and region,” said North Coast MLA Jennifer Rice. “But for two years the Christy Clark government completely ignored First Nations and tourism operators as tourism suffered.”
“Thank goodness for the upcoming election and Premier Christy Clark’s fear of how her decision in 2014 may affect her own future,” said New Democrat transportation spokesperson Claire Trevena. “She is clearly doing it for her own selfish reasons, but at least she is finally admitting that she needs to reverse some of the chaos and devastation that she has created.”