The Snuneymuxw First Nation is revealing why it’s on board with the foot passenger ferry service promised between Vancouver Island and B.C.’s Mainland for this upcoming summer.
The First Nation has not only given its blessing but is a partner in the venture and will benefit from the ferry’s operation from the Nanaimo Port Authority’s underutilized cruise ship dock, according to Bill Yoachim, (Acting) Chief of Snuneymuxw First Nation.
The Vancouver Island Ferry Company has announced that it will start a foot passenger ferry service between Nanaimo and downtown Vancouver with a crossing time of about 70 minutes.
“Feeling really positive about the new fast ferry that’s coming next summer. Feeling that it’s the right thing at the right time with the right people,” Yoachim told CHEK News in an interview.
For nearly a decade, there has been an effort to reestablish a foot-passenger ferry service between the two cities. This past week at a Nanaimo launch event, the ownership group announced the service would be happening.
“We’ve got the right boats, the right team, the right investors, the right partners from the mayor, the Nanaimo Port Authority, our First Nations partners, so we’ve got the right team, and we’re investing for the long term,” said Alistair Caddick, CEO of the Vancouver Island Ferry Company.
The two fast ferries that will sail these waters are being built in the Netherlands and each hold 350 passengers, with Snuneymuxw’s acting chief saying the company’s approach from the start has been refreshing.
“It’s been amazing for a proponent coming to our territory and our backyard to want to do things the right way right out of the gates, and these folks out of Toronto, Conqora, and Rupesh have been nothing but stellar to be with and sort of setting we believe a template how business should be done in our territories but also territories right across the country,” said Yoachim.
He says there are multiple components to the agreement reached between the First Nation and the ferry company.
“Successful revenue for the fast ferry will also bring some success to Snuneymuxw. It’s also bringing job creation, job procurement opportunities, Snuneymuxw influence in branding and Snuneymuxw influence in the naming…so it’s a true all-around positive relationship.”
In a news release, the company says it will be based in Nanaimo, with more details in the spring. Snuneymuxw says the company’s plan is one that it only wants to help see succeed.