Letters: Low usage equals price hikes

Cost increases for ferries and water usage unwarranted

Apparently the Greater Victoria Water board attended the same kindergarten school of business that BC ferries executives attended.

When water usage or ferry ridership is down then it is time to raise the rates/fares again rather than encourage usage by lowering rates or at least maintaining the same costs.

Unbelievably, a report from BC Ferries CEO Mike Corrigan  says that losing $16 million was  good news as they had predicted losing $20 million. In a similar tone, the deputy water commissioner of the GVWD says that conservation is a good thing even as he raises your rates to cover that. Are you kidding me, did these guys actually go to school?

The problem I have  is not the increases in water costs or ferry fares. If the increases were actually deserved due to infrastructure, requirements or operating expenses I could see the rationale, but clearly both of these groups are raising prices due to mismanagement, a flawed business model, and ultimately no regard for the users.

The message to the water consumer is that conservation does not pay. In the last 15 years the Westshore population increased 14 per cent and water usage has declined 11 per cent yet they want to raise our rates? The message to the ferry users is to find alternate transportation or stay at home.

BC Ferries reported losses of more than $16 million last year, with vehicle traffic on its ships at a 13-year low and passenger traffic at its lowest in 21 years.Mike Corrigan, BC Ferries’ president and CEO, said it could have been worse. The company had actually forecast a $20-million loss at the start of the year, but company-wide cost-saving measures cut the final figure by $4 million. Now they want us to suck up another $26 million in cuts to ferry service.

The Greater Victoria Water District reports that the Westshore might see sharper water-bill increases as water sales have not meet expectations. Hikes come even as the average homeowner is using less water. Users in the Westshore, including Langford, Colwood, View Royal, Sooke, Highlands, Metchosin, Sooke and East Sooke, could be facing an average rate increase of about $25.97 a year. The bulk of the Westshore increase is due to the fact that water sales there have not met budgeted expectations.

Maybe it is time to try and recruit people that know how to run a business, people that understand the margin between profit/loss and how to increase business without gouging the consumer.

In my humble opinion, the people making the decisions for these corporations would not know how to balance a personal checkbook, yet they are being paid huge salaries.

Brian Wallace

Sooke