Dear Mayor Denis Doyle
HIRA is encouraged to see Council moving forward with respect to the Growth Management Study that Council undertook last year. Given that the study defines the projected future demands on the ferry system and the resultant need to increase ferry capacity. This will likely involve many improvements to the existing infrastructure that will no doubt take significant time to effect. HIRA believes there are a number of initiatives that can be taken in the short or medium term that can have the effect of both improving the existing service and buy the necessary time to implement the ultimate solutions.
As you are aware HIRA conducted a ferry survey last year and based on the comments received from the community have developed a list of potential initiatives that could be adopted to lessen the wait times. While we recognize that there is cost to these initiatives we believe these costs are not unreasonable given the increased growth on the island. We have also included a few options to increase revenues.
- All property owners purchase a pass or pay a yearly ferry fee
- Ferry operators be more diligent in the collection of fees particularly trailers
- Charge increased fee for commercial and off island vehicles these could be at a higher rate as they don’t pay taxes and tend to use more space
- Property owner passes sold to individual not the car
- Only emergency vehicles should ride ferry free
- Review Development Charges to determine if they are appropriate given the improvements needed by our ferries
EFFICIENCY OPERATION INITIATIVES – Some of these could be relaxed during off peak time i.e. time of day or time of year
- Trailers and large vehicles be restricted to County ferry
- Coverage for breaks on both ferries
- Web cams so people can decide which ferry is best to go to or delay trip etc.
- Fuel trucks be restricted to specific times
- Regular maintenance at night on both ferries
- Automatic gates at County ferry
- Educational initiatives to encourage residents to plan trip, car pool etc.
- As Howe Island still has a significant agricultural component and HIRA believes it is beneficial to maintain and support the agricultural component as much as possible no initiatives should unduly hamper the agriculture operations.
Representatives of HIRA would be pleased to meet with Council or staff to further explore and discuss these or any other options that may be developed.
Yours Very Truly
Howe Island Ratepayers Association
Jim Mills – Transportation Chair
Brian Humphrys – Planning
Natalie Nossal – Councilor
Barbara Springgay – Councilor
Wayne Grant – Councilor
David Jones – Deputy Mayor
Carol Dwyre – Deputy Clerk
Ed Beseau – Chair HIRA
Paul Charbonneau – Director of Emergency and Transportation Services