While the current ferry terminal on Denman Island can accommodate the lower winter traffic, it is not nearly large enough in the summer.
That’s why BC Ferries is about to start what it calls a “terminal upgrade.”
But Christina Wilson is among a group that wants to stop the project from going ahead because of concerns for the environment.
“Mainly for the removal of so many trees, so many mature trees and some of the trees on the other side of the road. I see the eagles perching a lot and looking for fish so it’s destruction of habitat basically,” said Wilson who has lived on either Hornby or Denman Islands for 42 years.
BC Ferries says it will remove approximately 100 trees to expand the holding area at the terminal and add a holding lane along East Road. During the summer the road can back up with people in vehicles, waiting for a ferry, for more than a kilometre.
Wilson says there is a much better solution.
“Many people think that it’s quite unnecessary to expand the terminal as much as the plans call for because what is really called for is better ferry service to stop the summer traffic from backing up along the road,” said Wilson.
People on Denman Island and Hornby Island have been petitioning BC Ferries for a larger ferry between the two islands.
The current ferry can only take 21 vehicles. BC Ferries plans to move the MV Quinitsa with its 45 spaces into the route this summer but with the population and tourist demand increasing on Hornby Island, Wilson says an even larger ferry would be needed to satisfy the demand.
Others on Denman Island would like to see the project go ahead.
“It is a complete safety hazard and it’s been complained about for a long time,” said Jack Forsyth from the Denman Island Ferry Advisory Committee.
The Denman and Hornby Island Ferry Advisory Committees are on board with the project and have been asking for it for years saying that the summer line-ups with vehicles blocking half of the road are dangerous.
“Our big risk is if you’re coming along even slowly when you have the right you have no idea if some child is going to run out in front of their car cause the people have been sitting there for 15, 20 minutes maybe a half an hour,” said Forsyth.
The project though, may not be smooth sailing as Wilson believes there may be some resistance.
“If I was a betting woman I’d put money on it,” Wilson said.
BC Ferries says tree removal is slated to start in mid-February and it understands the concerns around the falling of trees.
The company notes it’s undertaking the work at a time that avoids nesting season for local birds, and we plan to work with area properties to reduce the impact of the tree removal.
BC Ferries is also working to donate the lumber generated by the removal of the trees to local First Nations and community organizations.