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For Immediate Release
April 19, 2022

VOLUNTEERISM AT ITS BEST
MEET YOUR QUADRA – CORTES FERRY ADVISORY COMMITTEE CHAIR


VICTORIA – After spending 23,000 hours in the air flying around the world as a commercial airline pilot Michael Lynch is more focused on marine transportation these days. As the Chair of the Quadra-Cortes Ferry Advisory Committee (FAC), Lynch is at the helm of a group working to bring the voice of the two islands to BC Ferries.

“A lot of it is about running as a system. We’re a two-ferry system that connects communities,” he says of the relationship between Quadra and Cortes Islands. “Our work as the Ferry Advisory Committee is about helping to connect the two communities and working collaboratively together.”

With a strong background in operations (it was a big part of his role with the airlines) Lynch understands better than most about the complexity of making a transportation system run. He was Chair of the Committee when the FAC worked to improve the assured loading program for Cortes, an exercise in understanding the operational complexities of two separate but interconnected routes. “And we’re not done with that yet,” he says

April 24-28, 2022 is National Volunteer Week across Canada. The annual event seeks to recognize volunteers, like Lynch and the other members of the Ferry Advisory Committee, and 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 towards common goals. Exactly the kind of work Lynch and his Committee members are committed to year-round.

The Quadra-Cortes FAC works to bring community perspectives from both islands 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.

After seven years with the Committee, three as their Chair, Lynch is just the man for the job. He’s no stranger to hard work. In addition to the countless hours in the air and the endless weeks on the road of his past career, Lynch ran a bed and breakfast with his wife for eight years on Quadra Island. When COVID hit, Lynch closed the B&B down and has opted not to reopen in favour of a slower pace of life.

Model trains and tending to his acreage are more his speed these days, but that doesn’t mean the work is over. Sophie and Tess, his two donkeys rule the roost around the farm, creating work whenever they think Lynch might be getting a little too relaxed. “They’re quite sweet, but they do eat a lot of fences,” says Lynch.

When he’s not mending fences munched by a roving duo of loveable donkeys, Lynch enjoys working on his model trains. “It’s a passion that’s been with me for a number of years. But I’ve only recently had time to really get into it,” he explains.

As far as his role with the Ferry Advisory Committee goes, Lynch says he wishes more people would get involved. “Raising the profile of the Committee in the community is probably the most challenging part of the job,” he says. “We represent the voice of the community and if the population would take advantage of that, we could do a lot more. It’s very difficult to get new people.”

For BC Ferries part, they say the Ferry Advisory Committees form a vital connection to the communities they serve. “We rely on the Committees to bring a variety of community perspectives to the table, especially on routes where we have interconnected services like Quadra-Cortes,” says Brian Anderson, Vice President of Strategy and Community Engagement. “The Committees help us understand the nuanced connections between routes, and the different community needs at play. We would like to thank them for all their hard work, and encourage others to get involved. We need and want to hear your voice.”

As to why someone should consider getting involved, Lynch says it’s about taking action and becoming informed about critical community services. “It’s like voting. Even if you don’t vote for the winning person, you’ve exercised your rights. It’s the same thing with the ferries. Why not get into a position where you can speak knowledgeably about them and to them?”

If you’re interested in becoming part of the Quadra-Cortes Ferry Advisory Committee, you’re invited to reach out to Michael at michaellynch@gicable.com.


FAC Facts and Stats:
  • 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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Michael Lynch, Chair of the Quadra – Cortes Ferry Advisory Committee
 
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