A 2018 ferry review suggests building a BC Ferries terminal near the Vancouver International Airport to reduce travel times to the Island.
The review of coastal ferry services, written by special advisor Blair Redlin, says a provincial vision and plan should be led by the Ministry of Transportation and Infrastructure for BC Ferries, as without the plan, BC Ferries continues “to make capital replacement decisions based on the routes that are in the contract now, as well as the terminals which support them.”
“Cuts in service during periods of poor net revenue [like those of 2014] were largely driven by revenue factors rather than the needs of communities or the larger highway and transportation network,” Redlin wrote in the report released last week.
According to the report, the vision and plan should look at big ideas, including a new terminal on Iona Island near Sea Island, where YVR is located. The report says this could reduce crossing times to Vancouver Island while offering better connections with the airport and the SkyTrain.
The report suggests the plan could also consider the future of the Mill Bay ferry service, the future of Horseshoe Bay terminal, possible passenger-only service from the Sunshine Coast to
Burrard Inlet and improved service for the north coast should all be considered openly.
“Based on the provincial public policy framework, and after a process of multi-agency transportation planning, the Province should identify potential new ferry services or
terminals that respond to changed settlement patterns, support other transportation modes and/or reduce pressure on roads,” the report states.
“Examples could include passenger-only service from the Sunshine Coast to downtown Vancouver; a new terminal at Iona Island near YVR to support an integrated transportation hub; a service between the Saanich Peninsula and Cowichan Valley; improvements to the Mill Bay Ferry; or a passenger-only service from Colwood to Esquimalt.”
The province says it is now looking for public input on what coastal transportation should look like in the future.
“Decisions on transportation investments have long-lasting impacts – that’s why it’s important that the people of British Columbia should have a say in the future of coastal ferry transportation,” Minister of Transportation and Infrastructure Claire Trevena said in a statement.
“Our government has restored 2,700 ferry sailings, reduced and frozen ferry fares and amended legislation, all of which are resulting in benefits to communities. Our next step is to develop a broad provincial vision so we can be sure that we have the right ferry services in place in the future.”
Trevena said she will meet with stakeholders in Nanaimo, Victoria, Vancouver, Salt Spring Island, Sunshine Coast, Haida Gwaii and Comox to start developing a future plan for ferry services. The engagement process is expected to continue into the new year and will include online engagement.
The province said the process may include exploring: supplementing current services with passenger-only ferries, expanding transportation choices and innovations to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.
Read Connecting Coastal Communities: Review of Coastal Ferry Services below: