Ferry CURE, Lifeforce Seek Review of

Fast-Ferry Impact on Marine Animals

January 29, 1999 -- Ferry CURE, a coalition of ferry users to re-establish equity in rates and practices, and Lifeforce, a Vancouver-based non-profit ecology organization, today asked Cathy McGregor, B.C. Minister of the Environment, Lands and Parks to review the fast ferries' threat to marine wildlife through the power given to her under Section 4 of the provincial Environmental Assessment Act.

The Act allows the minister to review a project if she is satisfied that the project has or may have a significant adverse effect on the environment.

Ferry CURE and Lifeforce are particularly concerned about the impact the fast ferries will have on orcas, seals, and sea lions. To verify the presence of these marine animals in areas crossed by the PacifiCat on its proposed route from Horseshoe Bay to Nanaimo, the two organizations are sending the minister photographs of orcas in these waters and of seals near Bowen Island.

Ferry CURE director Bert Paul says, "We know there are seals in these waters. If pups are separated from their mothers by high wave action in the pullout areas, they could drown." Lifeforce says there have been documented reports of orcas being struck by a B.C. ferry and a whale-watch boat.

Last July, responding to Peter Hamilton, adminstrator of Lifeforce, Permier Glen Clark wrote that sightings of orcas in the ceentral Georgia Strait area "are unusual and the northern residents do not venture that far south." Lifeforce and Ferry CURE, however, have photographs of orcas off point Atkinson and maps that show their usual passage in this area.

In the same letter, the Premier acknowledged that no environmental staudy had been done of the fast-ferry program. "This is a stunning revelation," Bert Paul said, "and further increases the necessity for the Environment Minister to intervene and protect our legacy."

The provincial government's fast-ferry program has been under siege since it was revealed that the final cost of the three catamarans could exceed $400 million -- nearly double the figure Premier Glen Clark promised was an all-in ("including the toilet paper") cost.

You may view any of the images used as exhibits to support this request on this site.

For further information

Elbert Paul
Ferry CURE

(604) 947-9130

Peter Hamilton

(604) 669-4673

Page last updated 99-02-08