Adam Holbrook, Chairman of the Bowen Island Advisory Transportation Committee wrote the following letter of resignation after learning that his committe had been bypassed. It was also published in the Undercurrent 99-01-15, page 5. It is reproduced with permission.
Stepping down as BIATC chair
Effective today I am resigning as chair of the Bowen Island Advisory Transportation Committee (BIATC).
I am resigning because I believe the stakeholder consultation process, which emerged from the Fryer Report on BC Ferry Services, and which was widely promoted by the BC Ferries Corporation (BCF) and the provincial government, has not been honored in any way by the BCF. I cannot continue to try to chair a process which, for Bowen Island, has been rendered useless by the recent actions of the BCF.
It has become clear BCF has been planning the removal of the Queen of Capilano and her reassignment to the Southern Gulf Islands for some months. They have consulted extensively with stakeholders from the Southern Gulf Islands, yet kept on assuring the BIATC that no major changes were being contemplated. on the front page of the Jan. 8 issue of the Undercurrent, the BCF VP interisland services, Mr. Glen Brown, is quoted as saying "I guess that part of it has been that there hasn't been any linkage between the two stakeholder committees." This statement is offensive since it implies the onus lay on BIATC to monitor the activities of the Southern Gulf Island stakeholders.
The same edition of the Undercurrent gives further cause for concern. In a letter to the editor, Mr. Brown repeated a statement made in a BCF memorandum, issued Dec. 22, 1998, stating that the Capilano would be replaced by two ferries with a total car capacity of 86 cars. However, at the Jan. 7 1999 meeting of the BIATC, Mr. Brown stated their smaller, 16-car vessel would not meet Coast Guard standards and that Bowen Islanders would have to make do with the Howe Sound Queen, a 70-car vessel, by itself. Surely BCF knew of this problem in advance, given that they had been looking at options to move the Capilano since late summer.
Residents of Bowen Island and its stakeholder committee have been systematically and deliberately misled. BCF has come to an agreement with another group of stakeholders (the Southern Gulf Islands) which, according to statements made by Mr. Brown at the BIATCV meeting of Jan. 7, will improve service and bring extra business to the Southern Gulf Islands. These changes will be made at the expense of Bowen Island residents, property owners, and businesses, yet BCF gave no notice to Bowen Island (until Dec. 22) of these changes, some of the implications of which I list below:
Finally, at the BIATC meeting of Jan. 7, Mr. Brown informed the committee that BCF, as a result of these changes, would no longer have a vessel in reserve should the Howe Sound Queen (which I understand is 30 years old) break down and have to be removed from service. The vessel might also have to be taken out of service for an extended period of time for refit work, since it has asbestos insulation and lacks sewage treatment facilities.
BCF is also about to start major changes to the Horseshoe Bay terminal, the BIATC has yet to see any description of these changes, so has been denied the opportunity to comment on them. It is our understanding many of them will, again, affect the handicapped and mobility-impaired.
Some optimists on the island may believe there is still room to negotiate with BCF. I am not among them. Only intervention by the provincial government can reverse the process now. BIATC is not a committee constituted to act in an advocacy role. Therefore the only "political" statement I can make is to resign.