- Our Town
This issue of the Undercurrent has unintentionally morphed into the “ocean edition.” I’m surprised it doesn’t happen more often, given we’re surrounded by the stuff, but I would not be surprised to hear rumours that a number of you are grumbling over my obsession with the salty water that surrounds us.
The truth is, having grown up in Ontario, I’m somewhat preferential to lakes. They’re refreshing, and while yes you have to worry about getting mowed by reckless, partying motorboat drivers, you don’t need to worry about giant oil tankers, or giant tankers filled with garbage, or coal tankers, etc. At least not in the lakes that I swim in.
In any case, the ocean. It’s just a tiny part that separates us from work and shopping malls, and we love it but it is ever-present. The ocean we love, but the ferries... oh, the ferries.
I learned so much about them this week. Thanks to Andrew Pietrow, I learned that in 1968, BC Ferries had daily runs to and from Snug Cove that stretched between 9:15 in the morning and 9:45 at night, and Bowen’s population was just 300 at the time. It’s an interesting fact, one that mostly makes me feel nostalgic for a time when education and real estate were cheap, and subsidies were plentiful.
Thanks to Jordan Sturdy, I learned that between 2004 and 2013, fuel cost for the coastal ferries rose from $50 million to $121 million, while operating costs for the ferries dropped from 7 percent of their total budget to 4 percent of this total budget. These numbers don’t make me any less eager to see bonuses, salaries cut for executives at BC Ferries, but it does make me want to take a closer look a whole bunch of numbers, and to understand them better.
The point of all this is that I am re-learning objectivity. I have my opinions, and get so heated in them at times words fail me, but in this job I end up learning something new just about every second. As I do, my perspectives shift and I see things from new angles.
That said, the more I learn about the ocean and what’s in it, the more fascinated I become. I just might be growing my sea legs.