Aboard an Alaska Marine Highway System ferry. (Courtesy Photo | Vivian Faith Prescott)

Prince Rupert’s ferry issue is a North Coast issue, MLA Rice

Prince Rupert not alone in fight to save ferry to Ketchikan: Alaskan Rep. Ortiz

Mayor Lee Brain and the City of Prince Rupert are not alone in their fight to save the Alaska ferry service from Ketchikan.

Although the problems involving the Alaska ferry closure involves discussions with the city and the federal government, North Coast MLA Jennifer Rice is paying close attention to the issue saying the matter is multi-jurisdictional and involves a range of government departments.

“The recent decision to cease operations of the Alaska marine ferry system into Prince Rupert will negatively impact the tourism economy not just locally but throughout the region. The impacts will also be felt for North Coast families as many have community connections to Southeast Alaska,” Rice said.

Approximately 13,000 passengers travel the route from Prince Rupert to Ketchikan annually, the majority of which occurs during the summer. Rice said the majority of these visitors spend significant time in B.C. as they travel from the lower 48 states through B.C. up to Prince Rupert to board the Alaska Marine Highway System (AMHS).

The AMHS announced on Sept. 10 that service between the two cities will be officially closed as of Oct. 1. The reason for the closure is due to a failure to secure an armed RCMP presence to protect American personnel during inspections in Canada.

Budget cuts to the AMHS and jurisdiction issues regarding structural upgrades needed for the AMHS dock in Prince Rupert are also problems impacting the route.

READ MORE: This is not the end of Alaska ferry in Prince Rupert: Cullen and Brain

Alaskan representative in Prince Rupert to discuss solutions

Last weekend, Rice met with B.C.’s Minister for Tourism, Arts and Culture, Lisa Beare, who was in Prince Rupert to meet with tourism stakeholders. Part of their discussions included the importance of the Alaska Marine Highway System to the sector.

Rice also met with Rep. Dan Ortiz, an independent member of the Alaska House of Representatives, this week to discuss solutions.

“We both share a community by the same name – Metlakatla. These First Nation communities are culturally related and only separated by U.S. and Canadian borders. The Alaska Ferry service is also important for maintaining family and cultural connections between these communities,” she said.

In regards to the RCMP issue, Rice said that the provincial government cannot direct police operational decisions.

Ortiz came to Prince Rupert this week to meet with officials from the RCMP, North Coast MLA Rice, Mayor Brain and chief fiancial officer Corinne Bomben, to discuss solutions to restoring service and said countless people in Alaska will be effected in terms of impact.

READ MORE: This is not the end of Alaska ferry in Prince Rupert: Cullen and Brain

“If Alaska cannot maintain service to Prince Rupert it will have an impact not only on tourism but also the business community and the ability for fish to be shipped to the closest direct transportation line.”

Ortiz said the projected growth of Prince Rupert is vital to commerce for Southeast Alaska and that they frequently use Rupert’s line to the CN Rail.

Individuals from Ketchikan will now have to sail down to Bellingham, Washington — a 36 hour ride as opposed to a six hour ride — costing individual riders three times the monetary amount than travelling to Rupert, according to Ortiz.

Ortiz said he received countless letter from individuals regarding their desire to save the highway. In addition, the mayor of Ketchikan, Chamber of Commerce in Ketchikan and mayor of Wrangell have all sent letters to the representative.

Ortiz sat down with Brain on Friday afternoon and said the mayor will be presenting very viable options for the State of Alaska to pursue come their meeting in Juneau on Sept. 16.

“I can say that I am very heartened from the response by all the government officials while down here in Prince Rupert. Everyone on the Canadian side is interested and concerned in maintaining it’s [AMHS] routes in Prince Rupert,” Ortiz said.

READ MORE: Ferry schedules cost an Alaskan team a spot in the All Native Basketball Tournament


Jenna Cocullo | Journalist
Jenna Cocullo 
Send Jenna email
Like the The Northern View on Facebook
Follow us on Twitter

Just Posted

Freezing rain warning issued for central Interior Remembrance Day

Highway alerts in place for Begbie Summitt and Pine Pass

BCTF rejects mediator’s recommendations for settlement

Negotiations between B.C. teachers and the province will continue

Isaac Mack BCRA 2019 Bullriding Champion

Mack wrapped up the BCRA season with $12,484.99 in season earnings.

B.C. debate becomes bitter over impact of UN Indigenous rights law

Premier John Horgan cites salmon farm closures as model, opposition points to LNG, contracts

Indigenous-led organizations and province announce initiative to get North Coast communities off oil

First Nations communities from Haida Gwaii to Bella Bella will be eligible

‘We love you, Alex!’: Trebek gets choked up by ‘Jeopardy!’ contestant’s answer

The emotional moment came in Monday’s episode when Trebek read Dhruv Gaur’s final answer

Birthday boy: Pettersson nets 2 as Canucks beat Predators

Vancouver ends four-game winless skid with 5-3 victory over Nashville

Judge rejects Terrace man’s claim that someone else downloaded child porn on his phone

Marcus John Paquette argued that other people had used his phone, including his ex-wife

Petition for free hospital parking presented to MP Jody Wilson-Raybould

What started as a B.C. campaign became a national issue, organizer said

Petition to ‘bring back Don Cherry’ goes viral after immigrant poppy rant

Cherry was fired from his co-hosting role for the Coach’s Corner segment on Nov. 11.

B.C.’s high gasoline prices still a mystery, Premier John Horgan says

NDP plans legislation this month, seeks action from Justin Trudeau

Group walking on thin ice at B.C. lake sparks warning from RCMP

At least seven people were spotted on Joffre Lakes, although the ice is not thick enough to be walked on

VIDEO: Don Cherry says he was fired, not sorry for ‘Coach’s Corner’ poppy rant

Cherry denies he was singling out visible minorities with his comments

B.C. teacher suspended for incessantly messaging student, writing friendship letter

Female teacher pursued Grade 12 student for friendship even after being rebuked

Most Read