BC’s Transportation Minister’s is reassuring Vancouver Island residents that the Horseshoe Bay to Departure Bay ferry route is not in jeopardy.
Todd Stone says the route will not be eliminated, and a BC Ferries proposal to consolidate the Nanaimo ferry terminals won’t go any further.
Stone says that decision follows talks with Parksville-Qualicum MLA Michelle Stilwell, Comox Valley MLA Don McRae, and Parliamentary Secretary Jordan Sturdy.
Stone says he thought it was important to quickly quash fears of the major route being axed. However he’s not ruling other changes, saying BC Ferries does need to become more sustainable and get a handle on rising fares. He says switching vessels to run off LNG will save about $9 million per year and the government will continue working with Ferries to find other efficiencies.
Meanwhile, the company working to set up a private passenger-only service between downtown Nanaimo and Vancouver is watching all of this closely. Kathleen Burton with Island Ferries Services Ltd. says they’re open to talking to BC Ferries if the company is serious about potentially creating a passenger-only service to the island. The private company is looking to launch next March. Burton says they’re just waiting on the final details.
Burton says Island Ferries is very much its own company, but if BC Ferries wants to talk about how Island Ferries could help fill a gap, that’s a possibility.