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Bowen petition against ferry cuts presented to BC Legislature

As of Monday, the Liberal MLA representing Bowen Island, Jordan Sturdy, had been in possession of a local petition against BC Ferries for 35 days.

As of Monday, the Liberal MLA representing Bowen Island, Jordan Sturdy, had been in possession of a local petition against BC Ferries for 35 days. Eager to see the petition presented at the BC Legislature, its creator, Andrew Pietrow, urged Bowen's Council to draft a resolution urging Sturdy to raise the petition as a Caucus item. Council dismissed the request, and on Tuesday, MLA Sturdy tabled the petition in the Legislature. Despite this development, Pietrow says he still wants Council to pass his proposed resolution.

"I have mixed feelings about the fact that the petition was tabled in the Legislature today," says Pietrow. "I spoke to Jordan Sturdy on Monday evening, and he said he would show the petition to [Transportation] Minister [Todd] Stone, and make sure that it was discussed in the Premier's office. I then suggested that the opposition critic on ferries, NDP MLA Claire Trevena could table the petition... He wants me to just trust him, trust that he'll be as effective as possible, but I just can't put my faith in his process."

Pietrow says that other than the cut of the final sailing on Saturdays, which would affect him occasionally, the proposed ferry cuts do not actually make a major impact on his life.

"I know other people who will be directly affected, parents of the kids my kids go to school with," says Pietrow. "Mostly, though, I am really angry at the way they have gone about this consultation. The way they've gone about this is just disingenuous."

Pietrow says that at the BC Ferries Consultation meeting on Bowen in November, he asked MLA Sturdy what a private citizen could do to take action against the cuts and he suggested a petition.

By the time Pietrow sent the petition to MLA Sturdy's office a little more than a month ago, he had collected close to 1,300 signatures by adults of voting age on Bowen Island.

"When I started this process, I was surprised to learn that there were a lot of people on Bowen who hadn't even heard about the ferry cuts," says Pietrow.

Pietrow says he has made the same request of the councils of North Vancouver, West Vancouver and the District of West Vancouver as he made to the Bowen Council.

"The cuts come down on April 28th," Pietrow says. "Sturdy confirmed that a meeting between Minister Stone and Mayor Adelaar could happen in about three weeks time. He's also said the BC Ferries Commissioner, Gord Macatee, is on board with the idea of home-porting the Queen of Capilano on Bowen, but there are no dates set, and no guarantees. With just eight weeks to go I think we have to do whatever we can, and it is my hope that the Councils of North Vancouver and West Vancouver step up and show how these cuts will impact their communities."

Jordan Sturdy says the reason it took him 36 days to table the petition in the Legislature is simple logistics.

"The Legislature sat for two weeks before this week," he says. "The first week was taken up by the Speech from the Throne, and the second week was taken up by the budget. I'd already raised this issue with my Caucus and Minister Stone. There are definitely ideas that need to be considered, but I think the best way to explore those is to actually work with people instead of stirring up controversy."