11/18/2013 10:01 EST | Updated 01/25/2014 04:01 EST

BC Ferries Cuts Expected On Smaller Island Routes

B.C. Gov
The B.C. government is expected to announce cuts to ferry service on many smaller island routes this morning, as part of a plan to trim spending at BC Ferries.

Transportation Minister Todd Stone is expected to reveal how the province plans to find $19-million dollars in savings at the provincially-owned corporation.

The majority of the cuts are expected on dozens of shorter routes to smaller island communities which often run at a loss.

The main routes between the Lower Mainland and Vancouver Island and the Sunshine Coast, which generate revenue for BC Ferries, are not expected to be affected.

Hornby Island resident Tony Law, who co-chairs the provincial ferry advisory committee, says many island residents are concerned about the impact of the cuts.  

"People are apprehensive because ferries are our lifeline for our communities, and you know, sailing cuts may not be significant for some users, but could be very, very significant for other users."

Law questions how effective the cuts will end up being when it comes to solving long-term funding problems.

"The problem is largely being caused by successive governments under-funding ferry service, trying to get away with not putting in the money required, and this is not going to solve the issue."

The province, which owns BC Ferries, provides about $150 million in annual funding, while the federal government contributes about $26 million a year.

In 2012 the B.C. government said BC Ferries must cut $45 million over the next four years. Last year BC Ferries cut some late-night sailing during the winter on routes in and out of Nanaimo, for a savings of $1 million.

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