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For Immediate Release
April 19, 2022

VOLUNTEERISM AT ITS BEST
MEET YOUR NORTHERN SUNSHINE COAST FERRY ADVISORY COMMITTEE CHAIR


VICTORIA – When Kim Barton-Bridges moved to Powell River in 1998, ferries had an almost magical appeal for her and her family. After taking the ferries that connect Horseshoe Bay to Langdale, and Earls Cove to Saltery Bay her daughters went home convinced they were moving to live on the ferries. “I remember my daughters telling people that we were moving to two boats,” she says. “A decade later the magic had kind of worn off, and I thought it would be good to work on some of those challenges,” she notes. And the rest, as they say, is history.

Barton-Bridges has been a member of the Ferry Advisory Committee (FAC) since 2013, and their Chair since 2016. As an avid volunteer, she says it’s the opportunity to hear and understand different perspectives, and take action to make her community a better place, that drives her.

“For me it’s about taking time to actually listen to people and respond to them. And bringing those ideas to people [at BC Ferries] who can take action or do something with those ideas,” she says. “It’s the opposite of individualism. It’s important for it not to be just my agenda and my issues, but what looks like is best for the community.”

Barton-Bridges and her fellow Ferry Advisory Committee members are exactly the kind of people being recognized across the country this week. April 24-28, 2022 is National Volunteer Week across Canada. The annual event seeks to celebrate the positive impact of volunteerism in communities. This year’s theme ‘Empathy in Action’ celebrates the ways in which volunteers build awareness around the experiences of different community members and build capacity to work collectively together towards common goals.

“Empathy isn’t just about responding to a crisis, but looking at things from a variety of perspectives,” notes Barton-Bridges when asked what the theme means to her. “We have a large region and there are probably 20,000 ideas about how the ferries should run.”

Northern Sunshine Coast FAC members work year-round to bring those perspectives and ideas to BC Ferries in the form of advice and insight that helps inform day-to-day operations, terminal and vessel improvements, schedule changes, and other initiatives. There are no days off for an FAC Chair. They answer emails, phone calls, and questions from community members 24/7.

“I hope community members know that I am listening and that they are being heard,” she says. Of her role as FAC Chair, she notes that helping people understand the ferry system, being a connection point for questions and concerns, and serving as a conduit for communication are some of her most important duties.

BC Ferries Vice President of Strategy and Community Engagement, Brian Anderson echoes that sentiment. “Our Ferry Advisory Committees form a vital connection to the communities we serve. They listen and respond to community members, and help open the doors of communication by sharing information, advice, and insights. We are very grateful for their dedication and the long hours we know they put in to their work with us.”

In addition to her role with the Ferry Advisory Committee Barton-Bridges is active in several community roles including her work with the Pacific Region International Summer Music Association (PRISMA) bringing live orchestra music to small coastal communities, and as a founding member and Board President of the Powell River Hospice Society. Although she has retired from her role with the Hospice Society, it remains a community initiative that is near and dear to her heart. “I had to leave because I reached my term limit, but I’ll make my way back to it in some form,” she says.

The activity that’s perhaps closest to her heart, however can be summed up in just two words: Funday Monday. Every Monday Barton-Bridges provides childcare for her grandkids who have nicknamed the weekly occasion ‘Funday Monday’. But Mondays aren’t the only time she spends with her growing family. The purchase of an RV during COVID was aimed directly at being able to spend more quality time with her daughters and grandchildren. “The intergenerational connection is just so important,” she says fondly.

Although Funday Monday and RV camping trips are family affairs, her activities with the Ferry Advisory Committee are something others in her community can become a part of. “It definitely makes one aware of a bigger picture,” says Barton-Bridges. “Everyone should [volunteer] at least once in their life. It’s good for you. I know it’s been good for me.”

If you’re interested in becoming part of the Northern Sunshine Coast Ferry Advisory Committee, you’re invited to reach out to Kim at k.bartonbridges@gmail.com.


FAC Facts:
  • There are 13 Ferry Advisory Committees situated in communities up and down the coast of British Columbia.
  • Committees are generally made of up of 8-12 members who represent ferry dependent communities.
  • FAC members bring a wide variety of voices and perspectives to the table. A committee’s composition depends on the community, and often includes representatives such as: full-time and part-time residents, the tourism industry, commuters, seniors, businesses, commercial goods and service providers, and many more.
  • This past year, FAC members have helped with:
    • Understanding the complex use of ferry service in the Southern Gulf Islands
    • Developing new schedules for two-ship service for Gabriola Island and Quadra Island
    • Adjusting and communicating service and schedule changes during pandemic recovery
    • Providing early input on Terminal Development Plans


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Kim Barton-Bridges, Chair of the Northern Sunshine Coast Ferry Advisory Committee
 
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Media Contact:
BC Ferries, Media Relations
Victoria: (250) 978-1267

Customer Contact:
Victoria: (250) 410-1465
Toll-free: 1-888-BCFERRY (1-888-223-3779)

Note to newsrooms: For urgent media inquiries off-hours, call our off-hours line at (250) 516-7211.
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