Sidney welcomes ferry’s return

Dignitaries, residents gather as Anacortes Ferry makes 2013 opening run

Sidney Mayor Lary Cross

Mayors from both the Town of Sidney and City of Anacortes in Washington State, hope a show of friendship on Sunday will help keep the ferry running between their communities.

Sidney Mayor Larry Cross welcomed Anacortes Mayor Dean Maxwell and representatives from various chambers of commerce, sister city organizations and Washington State Ferries when they arrived on the 2013 season’s first run of the Anacortes Ferry.

“Our ferry,” said Cross, “has an impact, both economically and socially, on both of our communities. It’s a significant economic driver on both sides of the Salish Sea.”

Maxwell said both communities needs to be vigilant in order to keep the ferry running — a service he said demonstrates the spirit of cooperation between the two countries.

Cross noted that Washington State Ferries, which operated the Anacortes Ferry, is facing route cuts in discussions at the state capital. He hopes events like Sunday’s celebration and the creation of new marketing strategies in Sidney will help reach out and keep the service afloat.

MP Elizabeth May, also at the event, said she supports the fight to keep the ferry running, calling it a good neighbour policy.

Cross said representatives from the town travelled to Anacortes four years ago, when Washington State was seriously considering curtailing or cancelling the run. He said there are significant financial issues facing the ferry company, including obtaining ships through state-wide referenda. Cross noted that the delegation was lucky to gain the ear of state legislators, who eventually left the ferry route to remain operating between the two communities.

Sidney and Anacortes are Sister Cities and the town criers from each community (Kenny Podmore of Sidney and Richard Riddell of Anacortes) took turns in hailing the event as an exercise among good neighbours.

Bagpipes sounded as passengers arrived and as they departed for the trip home. And all the while, people waved U.S. and Canadian flags.