I also understand that in the winters of 2009-10, and beyond, the Northern Expedition will be the principal off season vessel. The NorAd will be laid up.
Let's fast-forward 10 years or so, and do some crystal-ball gazing:
BCFS might have 3 northern ships: Nor-Ex, Nor-Ad, and Northern-Discovery.
What are the chances that Northern-Discovery might be custom built to be the Queen-Charlotte's summer-ship and also suitable as the inside-passage winter ship, leaving Nor-Ad as a summer Route-40 ship (or as surplus)?
Problems with this scenario: - Nor-Ad might not fit the docks at Klemtu, Shearwater, etc. - Nor-Ad lack of viewing areas to enjoy the beautiful Burke/Dean channel areas (but that's same as NorAd in Grenville Channel ;D) - The available funding to purchase the Nor-Discovery might be limited to a smaller ship.....Chilliwack sized.
Still, it's an interesting scenario to think about. The temptation / opportunity to "get it right" with a Northern-Discovery newbuild might be the solution to the NorAd problem. But an expensive one...
I have speculated earlier about an eighty car NorDisc ferry being used to handle all North Coast services in the slow fall and winter months. The NorEx would see service during the Christmas - New Year period, and again at Spring Break - Easter. That does not leave much of a role for the NorAd, perhaps summer only to Haida Gwaii.
This all assumes that the NorDisc is able to handle fall & winter weather & sea conditions at least as well as the QPR.
BTW Fluge, your sig looks to be taken up at the top of the Whistlers' tram, in Jasper. Do I see a Flugel headed ptarmigan in this pic?
Post by johnnytindale on Aug 29, 2008 8:51:19 GMT -8
As was speculated previously on this forum, BCFS is selling their current HQ building on Fort St and moving to the under-construction building on the corner of Yates and Blanshard, which they will lease. On a side note, I was unaware that they also had offices on Carey Rd. Does anyone know what ops are currently carried out there?
BC FERRIES HEAD OFFICE TO MOVE IN 2010 Aug 28, 2008
IT'S OUT WITH THE OLD AND IN WITH THE NEW FOR BC FERRIES--AS THE COMPANY PLANS TO MOVE ITS HEAD OFFICE.
BC FERRIES HAS SOLD IT'S FORT STREET OFFICES AND PLANS TO LEASE SPACE IN A NEW BUILDING UNDER CONSTRUCTION AT THE CORNER OF YATES AND BLANSHARD.
THE NEW OFFICES, TO BE CERTIFIED AS A LEED OR LEADER IN ENERGY AND ENVIRONMENTAL DESIGN BUILDING, WILL GIVE THE FERRY CORP 90-THOUSAND SQUARE FEET OF SPACE--SLIGHTLY MORE THAN IT'S FORT STREET AND CAREY ROAD OFFICES COMBINED.
CEO DAVID HAHN SAYS THE NEW BUILDING WILL HOUSE THE NEW SECURITY OPERATION CENTRE AND KEEP HIGH QUALITY JOBS IN VICTORIA.
AS FOR THE REASON TO LEASE RATHER THAN BUY, HAHN SAYS IT COMES DOWN TO THE RIGHT ECONOMIC DECISION.
Post by Northern Exploration on Aug 29, 2008 9:03:51 GMT -8
If my memory serves me correct I think accounting was one of the groups that was split. Having it all under one roof will be a boon to efficiency and convenience. I wonder what Fort Street sold for. That will be a nice chunk of money to go into the bottom line. I wonder if it will be used to offset the loans that are outstanding.
Queen of Prince Rupert at Bear Cove - Thankyou for your years of service
As was speculated previously on this forum, BCFS is selling their current HQ building on Fort St and moving to the under-construction building on the corner of Yates and Blanshard, which they will lease.
Why don't they buy a used building from Greece, and have it barged across the Atlantic, thru the canal & up the coast?
Then they can set the Greek-built building on some land in Victoria, and worry about the different electrical wiring and plumbing issues and sponge-like-stucco later.
Oh also, the building that they buy & move should have very few windows in it. (also ensure that the building has only 1 door, and that it sticks occasionally. and of course there's no need for working elevators/escalators between floors either).
Just an idea....I have no idea where I got it from
Current model for B.C. Ferries doesn't work The Daily News Saturday, August 30, 2008
At some point, the business model is going to need a major readjustment.
This week, B.C. Ferries posted its first quarter results for 2008, showing a dramatic $6 million drop in earnings compared with last year with total expenses, apparently mostly fuel related, outpacing revenues.
Net earnings were $8.4 million for the three months ended June 30, 2008 compared to $14.4 million during the first quarter in the previous year, according to B.C. Ferries.
Also in the first quarter of this year, revenues increased 7.6% to $171.9 million. But total expenses increased 12.4% to $163.5 million, compared to the first quarter last year.
Despite an increase in vehicle traffic, earnings are projected to be lower.
That's certainly not a trend that can be sustained for along period of time.
Not too long ago, the Daily News talked with a keen observer of the ferry situation, who painted a bleak picture, thanks mainly to the Coastal Ferry Act.
She thinks the act presents insurmountable problems to making B.C. Ferries a success as a private company, and said the biggest problem is the requirement that each route sustain itself.
What may have been a move to privatize has created big problems because the major routes cannot subsidize the others.
Basically, declining net earnings and long-term debt to facilitate means big trouble.
Couple declining earnings and rising debt payments, and bankruptcy is a possibility.
Even then, B.C. Ferries president and CEO David Hahn, though he did not agree with the observer's analysis, said higher debt and lower income are a possibility.
If the worst scenario played itself out, the only options for the ferries system would not be overly palatable.
First, the province could bail them out, which would make the decision to "privatize" them in the first place a complete failure.
Second, the banks could call in their chips and essentially own B.C. Ferries, though the province has first option to buy back the assets.
Either way, it would cost the taxpayer.
As it is, the system cannot continue to run in the same fashion.
One solution would be to return B.C. Ferries to its status as a Crown corporation, as it was before 2003.
Since the government is the sole shareholder in the "private" company, it makes a lot of sense.
The government (read: taxpayers) forks over more than $100 million each year to keep the ferries running.
So either have the government truly run it again, as part of the highways system (the original intention) or get their fingers out of the pie.
Perhaps one solution would be to allow some real competition for the service.
The major routes (Nanaimo, Duke Point and Swartz Bay to the mainland) appear to be doing just fine.
Many of the smaller routes are not.
There has been some talk about contracting the routes out ("alternate service providers").
While that might be deemed as unfair to some of those folks on the smaller islands, at some point there may be little choice.
Competition works well in many instances and many places, but the government also knows it would result in a significant upheaval.
And therein lies the rub.
Is that potential outcry preventing a real solution?
If the service is indeed going to a public one, it has to be just that. The taxpayers will continue to bail out the money-losers.
If it's not, and there is going to be competition on the smaller routes, then that should be the direction taken.
Someone needs to make a decision, because the current model clearly doesn't work.
Comment on this opinion: firstname.lastname@example.org ======================
Here's one we can actually read with a positive outlook regarding the whole fares issue.
Ferry system making splash with sports aid
Kent Gilchrist The Province
Thursday, August 28, 2008
Somewhere in the fertile minds of people being paid to dream up good ideas a light must have gone on in a creative head and the result is B.C. Ferries are now subsidizing travel for sports teams and individuals.
Brain storming the idea is one thing, selling it to the suits in the corporate offices is often something completely different. However, with this one it was likely smooth sailing, if you'll pardon the nautical pun.
So far B.C. Ferries have subsidized amateur sport travel to the tune of more than $16,000 in what amounts to a one-year project.
B.C. Ferries agreed to waive their fees to the tune of $75,000 or for a year. There's a $400 ceiling per team but, hey, if you're a minor hockey team (parent) trying to get to Campbell River or Ucluelet it must sound pretty good. And if you're a curling team from Powell River heading to the Lower Mainland for some competition, you might get all your ferry costs covered.
"I grew up on the Island," said Colby Fackler, the director of corporate partnerships for Sport B.C., whose fingerprints are all over the initiative that had a small pilot project of $11,000 last year.
"You can imagine we burned through that pretty quickly."
Fackler, who grew up in Qualicum Beach, ran track and played volleyball and basketball in high school, and was constantly hitting up his parents for his share of the ferry costs to tournaments in the Lower Mainland.
Normally, the only time B.C. Ferries are in the newspaper is when a vessel rams a dock or they want to increase the ferry fee for you and me to take our cars on vacation.
Boy, they get it from the driver, the hotel owner and the restaurateur, too.
With the 2010 Winter Olympics on the horizon and the Summer Games half over -- the Paralympics invade Beijing next week -- what better way for a transportation company to support B.C. athletes than subsidizing their travel costs?
They might even get some positive press out of it as a bonus.
Just in case you thought B.C. Ferries has simply been a money-grubbing company always in our pockets for hard-earned after-tax dollars, it has been a big supporter of KidSport, another Sport B.C. program "so all kids can play," which means children six to 18 can get the finances for equipment or registration fees to participate in a sport of their choosing.
Called the Sporting Life on the Coast program, more than 70 teams have taken advantage of the new B.C. Ferries program and "this equates to over $16,000 in travel expense savings," said Rick Christiaanse, vice-president of marketing and business development for Sport B.C. in a press release. The program has only been going for three months.
"I know personally what a definite advantage the program can be," said Fackler.
"Any team, say a softball team from Nanaimo, coming over for a tournament at Softball City can go to the Sport B.C. website and apply through a travel voucher system supplied by B.C. Ferries. Travel costs are not going to go down."
Oh yeah, didn't B.C. Ferries just put their rates up at the beginning of this month? That really went over big.
However, they deserve props for helping sports teams get to and from Vancouver Island, up and down the coast.
If this story had run on April 1st, I wouldn't have believed it for a second...
Mix-up causes massive search The Province Published: Sunday, August 31, 2008
The coast guard and military launched a massive search yesterday morning for a man believed to have fallen off a B.C. Ferries vessel headed to Mayne Island. Three hours into the search, the man was reported safe on Saltspring Island. He had apparently hopped off the ferry without telling his friends, who then reported him missing to the authorities. The mix-up happened on a sailing at about 8:25 p.m. Friday. RCMP did not call the military's Joint Rescue Co-ordination Centre to report the man missing until 4 a.m. Saturday, said air controller Capt. Dave Bowes. The military sent a Cormorant helicopter and Buffalo aircraft from 19 Wing Comox; the coast guard dispatched four auxiliary boats, two regular ships and a hovercraft.
Post by Northern Exploration on Sept 2, 2008 12:47:15 GMT -8
OUCH that is one expensive mistake. There is more to this story that what appears. Did they guy not have a cell phone? How come he just disappeared? Doesn't sound normal when traveling with friends. Maybe alcohol was involved. Either way some important and expensive resources were sent to the scene. What if a real emergency happened elsewhere?
Queen of Prince Rupert at Bear Cove - Thankyou for your years of service
Reminds me of one summer evening in Parksville when people saw a guy swimming out from Parksville beach and no one saw him come back so they were combing the coast from French Creek to Parksville with helicopters and they had a military aircraft dropping flares. Lots of fun to watch, but I don't think they found anyone.
Yeah, that happened yesterday just as the CR was entering Departure Bay round 6:45. From what I heard, the individual was threating to jump for awhile as he was hanging on to the outside rail of Deck 7, but as soon as she blew her whistle to announce her presence into the bay he was spooked, lost his grasp and fell into the water.
Fire rules won't apply to ferries Worksafe B.C. can no longer enforce regulations, according to ruling
Paul Walton The Daily News Friday, September 05, 2008
A recent B.C. Supreme Court decision means that WorkSafe B.C. can no longer enforce provincial firefighting regulations on B.C. Ferries vessels.
In a decision handed down this week, Justice Doug Halfyard found that the definition of "firefighter" and "fire brigade" in WorkSafe B.C. legislation does not apply to B.C. Ferries.
In 2002 WorkSafe B.C. issued six orders to B.C. Ferries after a safety officer watched a fire drill aboard the Bowen Queen.
The orders included to make certain there were at least four self-contained breathing apparatus, that firefighters must have a Personal Alert Safety System, that "effective voice communication" be established for firefighters inside and outside of any fire scene, and that "the employer must ensure the adequate instruction and direction of firefighters in the safe performance of their duties."
B.C. Ferries appealed the orders and in 2006 WorkSafe B.C. agreed to set them aside. But the B.C. Ferry and Marine Workers' Union went to court trying to challenge the review rescinding the orders. The trial was heard in April and May this year.
Asked what standards would now apply to shipboard firefighting aboard its vessels, B.C. Ferries spokeswoman Deborah Marshall said, "we follow Transport Canada regulations as well as our own company guidelines with respect to firefighting."
Marshall refused to release B.C. Ferries' firefighting guidelines, saying "it's an internal document."
Asked how the public can confirm that B.C. Ferries is adhering to its own standards for shipboard firefighting, Marshall said, "because we are regulated by Transport Canada."
Marshall did not respond when asked if Transport Canada enforces B.C. Ferries' own firefighting regulations.
Rod Nelson, spokesman for Transport Canada, said that the Canada Shipping Act requires that all vessels have sufficient crews that are proficient in a variety of areas, including firefighting.
He said Transport Canada would observe fire drills, and must meet all regulations.
"We would lay out regulations for what firefighting equipment they would have aboard," said Nelson.
The NDP critic for B.C. Ferries and MLA for the North Coast, Gary Coons, said he was at the B.C. Ferries annual general meeting on Aug. 27 asking about safety in the fleet.
"Last week I was concerned about safety and this ties into my safety concerns," he said.
"I've had concerns about safety ever since the start of this quasi-private model, and I still have concerns."
Richard Goode, acting head of the B.C. Ferry and Marine Workers' Union, was unable to comment on the case or to say whether they were going to appeal until they had discussed it further with the union's lawyer.
The most recent fire on a B.C. Ferries vessel was Aug. 16, when a fire broke out in a van on the Coastal Inspiration as it made its way to Duke Point. It was doused by the ship's crew as the ferry turned around to return to Tsawwassen. Nobody was injured.
BC Ferries reports a $6 million decline for first quarter by Laura Walz
Published: Wednesday, September 3, 2008 12:16 PM CDT Mayor Stewart Alsgard has waded into the debate about BC Ferries.
“I believe the Coastal Ferry Act is failing,” Alsgard said during the August 26 City of Powell River council meeting. “I believe while we have concerns with the service that’s delivered by BC Ferries’ ships, what we’re really having to deal with here is the BC Ferries Act itself and the minister that is responsible.”
Powell River Regional District board chair Colin Palmer has taken the initiative to organize elected officials from other minor-route, ferry-dependent communities on the BC coast to travel to Victoria to talk to provincial leaders about rising fares. Alsgard said the plan is to meet with Premier Gordon Campbell, Kevin Falcon, BC’s minister of transportation, and perhaps other ministers. City council supports that initiative, Alsgard added.
“We pay a premium to live in this community,” Alsgard said. “We don’t take kindly to political remarks such as, ‘Well you chose to live there, therefore you make sure you absorb the cost.’”
The issue wasn’t about battling either BC Ferries or the province, Alsgard added. “It’s about exposing a mechanism that is failing and needs to be addressed. Politically, we’re going to address that and we’re going to do it effectively and we’ll do it when the timing is right. The timing is very near.”
On August 1, BC Ferries applied a 17.6 per cent fuel surcharge on minor routes serving the southern and northern Gulf Islands and Powell River. The fuel fee followed fare increases on April 1 and in November last year.
On August 28, BC Ferries reported net earnings of $8.4 million for the three months ending June 30, 2008, a $6 million decline from the $14.4 million earned during the same period last year.
Revenues increased 7.6 per cent to $171.9 million while total expenses increased 12.4 per cent to $163.5 million, compared to the first quarter last year.
The increase in expenses was largely due to a $10.4 million increase in fuel expenses, as well as a $7.9 million increase in interest and amortization expenses reflecting BC Ferries’ ongoing significant investments in its fleet and other infrastructure.
The company said it continues to be concerned that high fuel prices and recent fuel surcharges could cause a decline in future travel. It said it will implement “various measures” to cut its costs over the rest of the fiscal year.
During the company’s annual general meeting in Delta on August 27, Gibsons Mayor Barry Janyk asked David Hahn, BC Ferries president and CEO, if the company would join with ferry-dependent communities to study the impact of rising fares on their social fabric.
Hahn said no and pointed out the company’s role was to manage the system and its expenses. BC’s government was responsible for policy, he added.
Wanted: ferry freedom Gabriolans consider a bridge and other transportation ideas
Walter Cordery Daily News Wednesday, September 17, 2008
Building a bridge linking Gabriola Island and Vancouver Island is now an official consideration for the Gabriola's Ferry Advisory Committee.
Options discussed at a public meeting on Monday night included a private ferry between Gabriola and Vancouver Island, a foot ferry, fixing up the M.V. Quinsam (the current B.C. Ferries vessel operating the route between Nanaimo and Gabriola) and a bridge.
Sheila Malcolmson, one of Gabriola's trustees on the Islands Trust, attended the meeting Monday evening. She said members of the advisory committee decided to ask Vancouver Island University what facilities it has to investigate transportation alternatives to Gabriola.
"I understand there was a lot of discussion regarding the bridge survey," said B.C. Ferries spokesman Mark Stefanson. "The next step is really up to the FAC to clarify what is to be surveyed. Our offer, as indicated by (B.C. Ferries Services Inc. president) David Hahn, still stands. We are prepared to pay up to $5,000 to survey Gabriola residents."
Most of those who spoke at the "standing-room only" FAC meeting held at the Gabriola Island Golf Club, denounced the idea of a bridge linking Gabriola to Nanaimo, said Malcolmson. She estimates that for every person who spoke out in favour of the survey, more than two opposed it. Unfortunately, not everyone who wanted to speak had the opportunity to, she said.
"I would like to know how the written submissions broke down," she said. "There was a thick stack of letters received by the FAC."
Malcolmson told the crowd that the Islands Trust "already have a community position on bridges. Trust policy statement is the articulation of public views island-wide. The no-bridge policy is rooted in provincial legislation and approved by the minister."
It is the "same with Gabriola and Mudge Official Community Plans - both were derived from extensive community input," she said.
"In the six years I've been trustee, no-one has ever suggested that we need to revisit the no-bridge policy."
Bridge proponent Jeremy Baker said changes to the Gabriola and Island economies were one reason he suggested a search for alternatives to the M.V. Quinsam.
"I call it the rust bucket," FAC chairman Andre Lemieux said.
Lemieux said he will now contact VIU to see what expertise they may have in conducting a survey of this magnitude.
Fellow FAC member Randy Young said everybody on Gabriola would like to know what the costs are of an alternative way of getting onto and off of the island would be.
"We all realize the Quinsam is not a long-term viability and we would like to know what the alternatives are," Young said. "It doesn't necessarily have to be a bridge."
BC Ferries passengers will likely have to pay a fuel surcharge for several more months, even though the price of oil is dropping, the president of the corporation told CBC News on Thursday.
Earlier this week, both Air Canada and WestJet announced they would be dropping fuel surcharges and lowering extra baggage fees after the price of oil fell to the $100 US a barrel range, down from a high of roughly $147 US in July.
At the pumps, the price of gasoline in B.C. continued to drop, with many stations across the province selling below $1.30 a litre, down from more than $1.50 earlier in the week.
But BC Ferries president David Hahn said falling oil prices don't translate into an immediate surplus of cash for the company and there are no plans for immediate price cuts.
"I think the difference between BC Ferries and the airlines, is they can make those changes overnight," said Hahn.
Since August, BC Ferries travellers have been paying fuel surcharges of between nine and 18 per cent on the price of tickets to help the corporation cover the rising price of oil. Rollbacks possible later this year
The provincial corporation does plan to re-examine the fuel surcharge at some point and to roll part of it back later this year or in early 2009 if the price of oil remains low, said Hahn.
The company is playing catch-up because it didn't implement the fuel surcharge until after prices had peaked.
"We never collected for the earlier price of fuel … When it was $140 [US] a barrel, we didn't have a fuel surcharge," said Hahn.
The new charges were introduced just four months after a fare increase and angered many people living in ferry-dependant communities.
Bob Lalonde, chair of the Bowen Island Ferry Advisory Committee, said he hopes BC Ferries will take a hard look at the fuel surcharge in light of the falling price of oil.
"This is a relatively new occurrence, so I would expect the Bowen Island Ferry Advisory Committee, along with all the other advisory committees will take steps to see that this is done," said Lalonde.
BC Ferries Services Inc. is owned and run by the B.C. government.
Will Coastal Renaissance be part of BC Ferries cost-cutting measures during fall-winter season? Coastal Renaissance Thursday, September 25 - 01:54:59 PM Jim Goddard
The new BC Ferries ship Coastal Renaissance could spend most of the fall-winter season parked in port, running only on Fridays and Sundays to save money on fuel. That's believed to be one of the options BC Ferries is looking at to keep costs down during non-peak days.
One unconfirmed report says the Coastal Renaissance will be replaced by one of the smaller ferries, likely the Queen of Cowichan, for most of the off-peak travel season on the Departure Bay-Horseshoe Bay route.
Mark Stefanson at BC Ferries couldn't confirm it, but does admit saving money is a consideration. "We're always looking at ways to reduce our costs, but so far no plans have been finalized in that vein." He wouldn't say if reduced service by the Coastal Renaissance is one of the options they're looking at.
Richard Good from the Ferry Workers Union hasn't heard about the Coastal Renaissance officially being reduced in service but wouldn't be surprised if it were. "I think they have to look at everything, with the economy and ridership going down this summer. I'm thinking they do have to find places to cut costs."
The new ferry has a car capacity of 370 vehicles, and passenger and crew capacity of 1,600 people.
Last Edit: Sept 25, 2008 13:56:29 GMT -8 by Canucks
Post by corporalrabbinoff on Sept 25, 2008 19:28:25 GMT -8
Having the Cowichan replacing the Renaissance to save fuel is a crock and Nothing but pure BS. I do not buy this at all. The travelling public are not going to accept it either to see a brand new ship sit at dock. I am certain that earlier posts in regard of the Coastal Class indicated that they are indeed more fuel efficient.
By the way hear is another pic of the Renaissance In August.
Last Edit: Sept 25, 2008 19:30:58 GMT -8 by corporalrabbinoff