SIRRA Response to BC Ferries Consultation- December 14, 2015
Saturna Island Ratepayers and Residents Association
PO Box 27, Saturna, British Columbia, V0N 2Y0
Mr. Mark Collins, Vice President December 14, 2015
Dear Mr. Collins:
The Satuma Island Ratepayers and Residents Association (SIRRA) appreciates the opportunity to
respond again to improve BC Ferry schedules and service to the Southern Gulf Islands. It is
encouraging that BC Ferries is prepared to solicit the input of their users before finalizing the 2017
As we stated in our previous submission our organization represents over 50% of all the property
owners on Saturna Island as well as many of the residents who live on the island. Our organization
regularly polls our members as to their issues and BC Ferries schedules and fares continue to rank as
In this regard, our membership is appreciative that BC Ferries has revised the proposed schedule to
more closely align with the existing schedule. However, our membership continues to be concerned
about the proposed, although revised, 2017 ferry schedules.
Our on-going concerns start with the proposed weekday departure time from Swartz Bay to Saturna.
More specifically what BC Ferries proposes makes what was once a 3:00 pm departure from Swartz
Bay would be reduced even more. A significant result of this change is that it will now be impossible
to transfer from the 1:00 pm ferry from the mainland in the off peak and shoulder seasons. The result
of this is that it will take almost 5 hours to get from Tsawwassen to Saturna. This change will have a
negative impact on the families and island businesses.
Further, while the concept of “five minutes or ten minutes” may not seem a significant amount of time,
later arrival in Swartz Bay combined with the earlier afternoon departure makes a “short turnaround”
trip from Saturna to Victoria almost impossible. This will directly affect Saturna individuals and
businesses ability to access basic services, such as doctors, dentists, banking and/or supply acquisition
Recommendation: Move the departure time from Swartz Bay back to 3:00 pm. in order to restore the
former time window.
Additionally, we note with some concern that in the shoulder and off peak season (8 months of the
year) the Friday evening ferry will take longer and arrive later on Saturna. And, the change represents
more than a 60% reduction in capacity. To restate our concerns, any further increases in time and
decreases in capacity to and from Tsawwassen and Swartz Bay to Saturna will have a serious impact on
the struggling economy on our island.
Recommendation: Keep the schedule the same as it is currently for the mainland to Saturna, and to continue the transfer of traffic from the mainland at Village Bay.
Finally, we ask again that BC Ferries revisit the way it conducts business. Home porting, live-aboards, short-link, reconfiguring Salt Spring terminals (especially Long Harbour) are all strategies that can aid in achieving substantial cost reductions (possibly improving service).
In summary, SIRRA encourages BC Ferries to revisit the long-term use travel patterns to develop the 2017 schedules that will assist, not destroy, the communities that you serve. We thank you for your continued efforts in doing so.
∎ SA, Joan Hoskinson President Pro Tern