Ferry rates up again
The B.C. Ferry Commissioner has approved an additional 3.2 per cent fuel surcharge on the major routes, and 9.6 per cent for most other routes.
Effective June 22, the total fuel surcharge for a standard-sized vehicle on the Tsawwassen-Swartz Bay run is $2.85, with an additional 80 cents per passenger. On the longer Port Hardy-Bella Coola run, the surtax comes to $18.30 per passenger and $36.55 for a car or pickup.
The Mill Bay-Brentwood Bay run on Vancouver Island does not receive the increase, and the Langdale-Gambier-Keats route is contracted and wasn’t included in B.C. Ferries’ application.
B.C. Ferry Commissioner Martin Crilly said he did not order the corporation to absorb the latest fuel increases, despite its $50 million in net earnings in the past year, because ferry rates were set for a four-year term that did not anticipate the unprecedented jump in fuel prices.
Auditor-General starts work
Arn van Iersel takes over as B.C.’s acting Auditor General this month, over the objections of the opposition MLAs on the legislature’s public accounts committee.
The NDP objected first to the B.C. Liberal government’s decision to hire an executive search firm to line up candidates to replace Wayne Strelioff, who has completed his six-year term, and van Iersel, who has worked in the B.C. government since 1979 in senior posts, was one of the finalists.
NDP MLA Norm Macdonald said the Auditor General is one of the most important independent offices of the legislature, and replacements are supposed to be chosen in a unanimous vote of the public accounts committee. After going against the usual procedure with an executive search firm, the B.C. Liberals then used a “loophole” to appoint van Iersel temporarily, he said.
A certified general accountant, van Iersel has previously been a senior financial officer for the finance and human resources ministries, and Comptroller General for the province.