On February 15th the Ferry Advisory Committee met with BC Ferries’ Terminal Development managers to discuss the planned renewal of the ferry berths and the opportunities for improving ferry-related infrastructure in both Nanaimo and Gabriola as part of a structured Terminal Development Plan. FAC chair Steven Earle described the meeting as positive and productive, and expressed optimism that BC Ferries is committed to some significant changes that will improve both safety and functionality at both ends of the route.
BC Ferries also presented an overview of some of the preliminary ideas that could be considered for the berths, waiting rooms, parking, passenger drop-off, bus, pedestrian and cycling access, and the vehicle holding facilities on both sides. Construction of the new ferry berths is scheduled to take place in 2021.
The Terminal Development Plan (TDP) will set out a long term vision of how the Nanaimo and Gabriola terminals should develop over time. The TDP will provide the framework for the phased implementation of strategies, actions and projects over the next 25 years and will therefore need to accommodate measures for the planned replacement of the MV Quinsam within the next 10 years.
BC Ferries outlined the nature of the public consultation process that is proposed over the coming 12 months. As with similar projects elsewhere, delivering a final Terminal Development Plan is a six-stage process, with community engagement at several points along the way. Currently, BC Ferries is at the pre-planning stage which gathers input from government agencies and key stakeholders (including the FAC) on some of the key issues and opportunities that the TDP should address. Once the pre-planning stage is complete, an initial report is produced and, with input from the local community, the key issues and opportunities are identified. We anticipate that the first public meeting on the terminal development process will be held on Gabriola in May or June of this year.
Similar meetings were held on Denman and Hornby Islands last fall, and an example of the public consultation document for the Denman West and Hornby Island terminals can be found here.
Concerns that were raised by the FAC in our meeting regarding the Nanaimo and Gabriola terminals are summarized here and we invite Gabriola residents and businesses to submit comments and suggestions via the Have Your Say page on this website ahead of the formal consultation process.