Ferry refit need is questioned

Grant Chitty (letter)

(The Bowen Island Undercurrent, May 5th 2000, p7: with permission)


First of all, the following is my own personal opinion, not to be confused with anything from my work with the FTF or Ferry CURE, as I have not had the time to discuss this subject with either party.

I have a really big problem understanding why our ferry has to go in for refit. It seems to me, unless someone can tell me the real legitimate reasons why—and hell I have tried to get answers from BCFC (but they don't reply back do they Mr. Peter Hughes)—why can the refit not be done while the vessel is still in service? The business cases for putting a Century Class vessel on Route 8 has been critiqued by the crew and refitting while still in service is one cost saving issue which has been ignored by management over and over again without legitimate comments back to refute [the hypothesis] that it [can] be done. This is only one of the ignored suggestions that are being buried by management . There are many more!

The main engines have to be rebuilt. OK, I understand and agree that the engines need rebuilding. But when the Capilano has a standby spare engine sitting there doing nothing until a situation such as a refit or breakdown occurs, and is [then] put into use while the other engines get their rebuild, just as this type of vessel was designed to do, puzzles me profoundly!

So far, in the last 12 months, the Queen of Capilano has been out of service for 45 days, plus we are looking at another possible 23 days if they can get it back before the May long weekend! That is a total of 68 days in a 12 month period that our ferry has been down. I smell a blatant waste of tax payers' money, and even a possible conspiracy here that goes well beyond the very obvious bad planning. Did you know that when the Capilano was moved to dry dock in Victoria November 26, 1999, it sat tied up for 12 days with hardly any work performed during that time before it was eventually dry docked on December 8th? 12 whole days! What a blatant waste. What bad planning.

Something is very wrong here and we need some factual answers. Soon!

Grant Chitty

P.s. We can't hide behind the screw-up on the deck resurfacing that needs to be re-done this time, as well as the engines. If that was planned properly in the first place we wouldn't have a problem today, would we?



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