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Denman’s cable ferry has to go, says woman whose brother died during May breakdown

The Denman Island cable ferry has been an ongoing disaster since it started in 2016, says the sister of a man who died during a recent service interruption.

Gracie MacDonald had to hire a private boat for her terminally-ill brother Andy, to get him to hospital on May 2 because the Baynes Sound Connector ferry was out of service.

“By then, Andy was throwing up blood and crying in pain,” she said MacDonald. “Riding in a small boat and having to walk across an uneven dock added to his agony.”

He died shortly after arriving at the hospital.

MacDonald says the cable ferry is unreliable, more expensive and less capable than the ferry it replaced. She’s now appealing to BC’s Auditor General to conduct a performance review of the route.

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“It’s going to take an Auditor-General or somebody impartial to take a good look at the finances, the reliability, and help them come to the decision that they need to replace this ferry with a regular boat, just like everyone else has,” she said.

She doesn’t blame BC Ferries for her brother’s death, but says his experience highlights ongoing problems with the cable ferry that she hopes no one else has to go through.

“Our loss is all the more painful for knowing that the lack of ferry service on May 2 was unnecessary and inexcusable,” she said. “The Baynes Sound Connector has had a dismal performance record ever since it was introduced in 2016. Andy’s horrific experience is a
tragic result of leaving this problem unresolved all this time.”

BC Ferries originally claimed the cable ferry, touted as the longest in the world, would save taxpayers an average of $2.8 million a year over its projected 40-year lifespan. However, in its first two years it lost more than $3.2 million.

Financial records show the Baynes Sound Connector cost $5.9 to run in 2023, $1 million more than the ship it replaced.

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