Hornby Island residents call for upgrade to 49-year-old ferry

Hornby Island residents call for upgrade to 49-year-old ferry

Mid-week, and it’s a full ferry leaving Denman Island to Hornby Island.

This ten-minute sailing is the only way on and off Hornby Island.

And that’s why there is so much concern for the summer.

Karen Ross is the Economic Enhancement Officer with the Hornby Island Community Economic Enhancement Corporation.

“We already suffer with five to six sailing waits in the summer. We can’t imagine the angst that this is going to create for the travelling public, the residents.”

Not only are there more people on the islands, according to BC Ferries, but there is also an increase in commercial vehicles, especially heavy-duty vehicles as well.

Compounding the problem, last November Transport Canada reduced the weight limits the 49-year-old ferry serving Hornby island, can carry.

The reduced capacity of the Kahloke means if Hornby Island-bound vehicles are left behind on Denman Island, the ferry often makes additional runs to pick them up.

But it’s not enough.

Brad Hornstein is building a commercial-residential project on Hornby, right next to the ferry terminal.

“I’m not even going to try and contemplate working in probably from mid-June to mid-September. It’s virtually impossible. Doubles the cost of labour and materials basically.”

With summer around the corner and more pressure on the ferry, there is concern about the growing traffic lineups at the terminal.

Grant Scott is the Hornby Island representative of the Islands Trust, and he says it’s time for an upgrade to the existing ferry.

“You get six ferry lineups on a sunny hot Sunday afternoon all the way up the hill and halfway to Bradsdadland up there. And there’s going to be an accident.  Something sad is going to happen here.”

In a statement, the Ministry of Transportation states that BC Ferries and the Ministry are engaged in discussions about how to develop a long-term solution to the sailing wait times on the Denman-Hornby route, as well as other routes in the coastal ferry system.

BC Ferries says its also planning to increase capacity of the cable ferry from Vancouver Island to Buckley Bay, and put a larger ferry in place for the Hornby Island Run.

But that won’t happen until 2026.

[email protected]

WATCH MORE: Buckley Bay-Denman Island West ferry returns to service after cable system repairs

Mary GriffinMary Griffin

Recent Stories

Send us your news tips and videos!