Recent news is concerning. The ongoing challenges surrounding the battle against the pandemic and the resultant restrictions has led to the demise of Lady Rose Marine Services operators of the M.V. Frances Barkley for many years. A strong viable business that witnessed significant growth year after year has unfortunately been forced to close, effective August 31, 2021. With no passengers permitted on the ship through most of 2020 and then limits of no more than 50 through at least the first 8 months of 2021 the company had no choice but to stop the engines. This is a major blow to the economy of Port Alberni let alone the vital transportation link the Frances Barkley provided to the people of Anacla, Bamfield, Kildonan and other smaller communities along the Alberni Inlet. Sailing to Bamfield year round on a schedule of Tuesdays, Thursdays and Saturdays the loss of this service is impossible to imagine. During the summer months, typically from early June through mid-September the Barkley was on the water 7 days per week with Monday, Wednesday and Fridays sailings to Ucluelet where it took passengers through the Broken Islands for an extra special opportunity. On Sundays the MV Frances Barkley, during the summer months, made special trips to the Sechart Lodge, now Broken Islands Lodge, where people could stay for days at at time either at the lodge or on one of the nearby Broken Islands accessing same by kayak.
The Chamber of Commerce is very concerned about this loss to our community and our nearby neighbours. We expect that all levels of Government will find an immediate solution to this problem ensuring that the team at Lady Rose Marine Services can get back on the water doing what they do.