BC Ferries uses its Coastal-class ferries on the Nanaimo-Horseshoe Bay route

UPDATE: Nanaimo will keep two ferry terminals

Transportation Minister Todd Stone reverses course after objections from Vancouver Island MLAs Michelle Stilwell and Don McRae

Transportation Minister Todd Stone has backed away from a proposal by BC Ferries that it should consolidate its two Nanaimo ferry terminals, after objections from B.C. Liberal MLAs on both sides of the route.

Stone said Tuesday that BC Ferries should consider whether it still needs both ferry terminals at Nanaimo, a legacy of the NDP government’s decision in the 1990s to build Duke Point. BC Ferries calculates that its Nanaimo runs have higher costs and lower ridership than the main Tsawwassen-Swartz Bay run that serves Victoria.

But on Wednesday, Stone ruled out that possibility.

“I indicated yesterday that while we weren’t endorsing or supporting the idea, it may be worthy of consideration,” Stone said by phone from Regina Wednesday. “Over the last 24 hours, I’ve had some very good conversations with my Island colleagues, Don McRae (Comox Valley) and Michelle Stilwell (Parksville-Qualicum) as well as my pariliamentary secretary Jordan Sturdy (West Vancouver-Sea to Sky). They’ve made some very strong and eloquent arguments to me that they don’t believe closing one of the two terminals at Nanaimo would be a good thing, not just for the economy of Nanaimo, but potentially the economy of the mid-Island.”

However, the completion of the South Fraser Perimeter Road through Delta and expensive refits required at the Horseshoe Bay ferry terminal in North Vancouver could result in a shift of some mainland-to-Nanaimo ferry traffic to the Tsawwassen terminal in the coming years.

BC Ferries has released a new major route strategy that proposes ending the Horseshoe Bay-Nanaimo run and putting the traffic on the Tsawwassen-Duke Point route, which has had sailings cut due to low usage.

Stone also ruled out BC Ferries’ suggestion to consider a passenger-only ferry from Departure Bay in downtown Nanaimo to Horseshoe Bay.

Horseshoe Bay has congestion problems on the water as well as on land, where vehicles line up along the highway before stacking up in a two-level “transfer deck” to board the ship. That dock structure is due for replacement at an estimated cost of $200 million.

Horseshoe Bay terminal also serves the Sunshine Coast via Langdale and a third run to Bowen Island with smaller vessels. BC Ferries CEO Mike Corrigan compares it to an airport with only one runway, with ferries lining up to a terminal that can only load and unload one at a time.

Tsawwassen has multiple berths that can handle simultaneous loading and unloading.

Both Stone and Corrigan emphasized that BC Ferries has to look beyond tinkering with under-used routes to keep fare increases in check.

“This is a longer-term project,” Corrigan told CKNW radio. “It’s not something we’re going to do overnight.”

 

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Kiakho Lake wildfire being held, Stirton Rd wildfire under control

Latest update on two local wildfires in the Kimberley and Cranbrook area

Cranbrook Bucks set to open rookie camp at the end of August

Junior hockey will feature in Cranbrook at the end of the month,… Continue reading

Officials raise alarm over water, environmental ‘crisis’ in Baynes Lake area

Local officials are sounding the alarm over a water and environmental crisis… Continue reading

The Murdochs: Fast Track to Hockey Stardom

Every Canadian hockey story, like that of the Murdochs of Cranbrook, seems to start in the backyard

Cranbrook RCMP looking for stolen red pickup truck

The vehicle is a red 1998 Chevy S10 pickup

Hiroo Onoda’s Thirty-Year War

Some Japanese soldiers, not knowing the war was over, did not surrender until 1972

Canucks ride momentum into NHL playoff series against defending Stanley Cup champs

PREVIEW: Vancouver opens against St. Louis on Wednesday

Man, 54, charged in connection with fatal attack of Red Deer doctor

Doctor was killed in his walk-in clinic on Monday

One dead as fish boat sinks off southern Vancouver Island

Shawnigan Lake-registered Arctic Fox II went down off Cape Flattery, west of Victoria

Landlord takes front door, windows after single B.C. mom late with rent

Maple Ridge mom gets help from community generosity and government

42 more people test positive for COVID-19 in B.C.

The province has recorded no new deaths in recent days

Joe Biden selects California Sen. Kamala Harris as running mate

Harris and Biden plan to deliver remarks Wednesday in Wilmington

Lawsuit launched after Florida child handcuffed, booked and briefly jailed

Suit alleges “deliberate indifference” to what should have been handled as a behavioural issue

Most Read