Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Snouting The Trough...How Much Will It Cost Us This Time?


As near as I can figure it (using that uber-sophisticated analysis known as long division) it will cost us 40,000 ferry trips between Swartz Bay and Tsawwassen.


...The province’s Ministry of Transportation and Infrastructure announced last week (in early August) that it has awarded a $594,000 contract to Vancouver-based Kirk & Co. Consulting Limited to undertake the coastal ferries community engagement program.

“The contract is part of the government’s commitment to seek public input on strategies to support a long-term vision of connecting coastal communities in an affordable, efficient and sustainable manner,” reads a statement released by the province on Aug. 2...

Meanwhile, Chris Montgomery, who is back from holidays, is reporting that, hidden behind the very expensive PR smoke and mirrors, the cuts at BC Ferries have already begun:

...The company says it’ll be $4 million ahead by cutting back on the weekend Tsawwassen-Duke Point route in October when the fall schedule kicks back in. First Saturday ferry out of either side will be at 7:45 a.m., last at 3:15 p.m. (Yes, 3:15.)
Other cuts are planned for Friday afternoons (!) on the Horseshoe Bay-Nanaimo and Tsawwassen-Swartz Bay routes...

But back to the snouting....

First, there is the connection of the flack-hackery currently under consideration to the Campbell/Clark/Brown/McLean/Hochstein government from the very beginning:

...The company is headed by Judy Kirk, who served as executive director of the BC Liberals’ caucus between 1994 and 1996...

Of course, you could argue that the breech birth of the current incarnation of  the BC Liberal (in name only) Party was a long time ago.

But then, from just last year, in the run-up to the pre-HSTreferendum/secret flack-hackery offensive,  there was this....

The B.C. government office running the province’s pro-HST campaign secretly doled out contracts to two Liberal-connected companies and a former aide to the minister who introduced the tax, records show...

{snippety doo-dah}

...Records obtained by The Globe and Mail also show the HST information office directly awarded additional contracts worth up to $163,810 on behalf of the independent panel...

{snippety doodle-dandy} 

...Kirk and Co. Consulting Ltd. – the communications firm headed by Judy Kirk, who served as the Liberal caucus’s executive director between 1994 and 1996 – was also given a contract worth up to $25,000 to provide the panel with media and public-relations advice... 

Imagine that!

Where'd that 40,000 trips wasted number come from?....Well, $594,000 divided by $14.85 equals......Bingo!
Chris Montgomery, who knows a thing or 40,000 about the ferry service asks some interesting questions about why the ol' Airport Guy didn't get out in front of the fuel cost problem and save us a bundle of money (and fares, and sailings, and service) by hedging a long, long time ago.



Chris Montgomery said...

Thanks for highlighting the contract aspect of the consulting work, Dr. K. I was away for much of the summer and thought maybe it had been covered. Pretty odd, though. Not just who it went to, but for how big a sum.

I thought the whole half-million dollar effort to ask folks what they were willing to lose was pretty interesting on the part of the government that kicked off this entirely unsustainable project for a "new" ferry corp.

They must feel bound in some way to come up with something before, or for, the election campaign. I know they're collecting a lot of advice on what they might do to fix things, and some of it is really good advice.

So what will they do? Knowing that they will likely lose the vote, will they just dole out money to friends for this kind of contract as they flee the scene, but not really rebuild the service? Or will they make cuts here and there, undoubtedly angering some ferry regulars but giving the appearance of doing something? Or will they really make an effort?

I'm getting the impression the Liberals have kind of lost interest, but who knows.

I don't know if it would be worse for them to make big changes without a mandate to do so, or to dump the whole problem into the lap of an incoming government, and make it their headache.

Either way, lots of opportunity and lots of pain ahead for the coast.

RossK said...


Re: What will they do?

I reckon it will be a massive pineapple strategy.

(as in mega 'Dole')