Sailing Cancellation August 8th

BC Ferries has canceled tomorrow’s 610 sailing because of the Snowbird demonstration – plan accordingly!

Nanaimo Harbour – Gabriola Island

Modified Sailing Schedule

August 8, 2018

Snowbirds CH.I.L.D Demonstration

Please be advised there will be a sailing cancellation on Wednesday August 8, 2018 at 6:10 PM to support the RCAF Snowbirds CH.I.L.D demonstration over Nanaimo Harbour.

Below is the sailing schedule for Wednesday August 8, 2018 between Nanaimo Harbour and Descanso Bay, Gabriola Island.

Leave Nanaimo Harbour Leave Gabriola Island
6:55 am 6:15 am
8:10 am 7:35 am
9:25 am 8:50 am
*10:40 am DANGEROUS CARGO ONLY 10:05 am
11:55 am 11:20 am
1:10 pm 12:35 pm
2:25 pm 1:50 pm
3:45 pm 3:05 pm
5:00 pm 4:20 pm
7:15 pm 6:40 pm
9:00 pm 8:25 pm
11:00 pm 9:30 pm

BC Ferries favours the two-ship option to replace Quinsam by 2022

BC Ferries has today issued a news release indicating that that they have invited  Expressions of Interest construction of of four new Island Class (M47) vessels, including two for the Gabriola route

This RFEOI is partially linked to the engagement/survey process carried out over the past 10 days, including the visits to Gabriola and Quadra this Monday and Tuesday.  Although the survey seeking public preference of either ‘2 x Island Class or 1 x Shuttle100’ only ended today, BC Ferries says they have received sufficient internal and external indications to now expect to replace Route 19 and 23 vessels by 2022 each with two Island Class (47 vehicle) vessels.Exterior-20172707-649x225

BC Ferries cautions that these plans still require approval from their Board and from the Ferry Commissioner.  Board members and the Commissioner have been kept informed as BCF has been conducting analysis of these ideas.

It can be seen in the release that there is still another step (Request for Pre-Qualifications) to undertake even prior to BCF issuing an actual Request for Proposals, which is the step that secures a shipyard to build these vessels. BC Ferries will be opening the RFP to all shipyards within BC, across Canada and internationally… and even though two Island Class vessels are already being built in Europe, these shipyards will still have to bid if they wish to compete for the new contract as BCF owns the design and the new contract will be to build to the existing design, with the goal to award contracts by the end of 2018.

The full media release from BC Ferries can be downloaded here.  For more information about the new Island Class ferries, please visit the BC Ferries website

BC Ferries wants to hear from you.

BC Ferries wants to hear from you. The question they want answered is: When the Quinsam is replaced, would you prefer one larger vessel that provides similar sailing frequency as the current service, or two smaller vessels with increased sailing frequency?


To receive your feedback, they are hosting a  drop-in information session Monday, July 23 from 3:00 – 5:00 pm at the Gabriola Arts & Heritage Centre. Can’t make that date? There is an online survey at: Please take a few minutes to fill it out. You have from today until July 26th.


2.9% Fuel Rebate to end on June 27

BC Ferries today announced that due to current world fuel market conditions, the
company will remove the fuel rebates currently in place on June 27, 2018. BC Ferries closely monitors the cost of fuel and from time to time applies a rebate or surcharge under a regulatory process that is independent of tariffs.

BC Ferries uses a fuel rebate/surcharge mechanism to manage volatility in the price of fuel. When fuel prices are lower, BC Ferries passes lower fuel prices on to customers through a fuel rebate. When fuel prices are higher, BC Ferries charges a fuel surcharge specifically designed to cover the additional cost of fuel.  The company does not benefit financially from the mechanism, as income raised from surcharges goes into a regulated Fuel Deferral Account,  which is then drawn down to pay for rebates when the price of fuel falls.

Fuel rebates of 2.9 per cent for the major and minor routes and 1.9 per cent for the northern routes have been in place since the spring of 2016. Since that time, the price of fuel has progressively risen, but with government intervention the rebates remained in place, resulting in a $13 million deficit in the Fuel Deferral Account by March 2018.

This deficit was zeroed in April by agreement with the Provincial government, but the ongoing increases in fuel prices mean the fuel rebate is now being removed. For Gabriolans, the net effect will be a 30 cent increase in round-trip passenger fares and a 70 cent increase on the cost of a round-trip vehicle fare. Fare changes for experience card users will be proportionately less.


FAC Chair handing over the reins

John Hodgkins, who has chaired Gabriola FAC since 2012, is stepping down from the role ahead of the forthcoming FAC meeting in November. A new Chair will be elected at that meeting.

For the past two years, John has divided his time between Gabriola and his family home in the UK, and he plans to move back there permanently in 2018.  He will continue to participate in the work of the FAC for the remainder of its current term.

John will continue to oversee the FAC website which he introduced in 2012 “to give the FAC much greater community focus”.   He joined the FAC at a time when the whole of the previous committee had stepped down ‘en bloc’ and there was a clear lack of engagement with the wider community on the island.  “Using the website and social media has brought the work of the FAC much closer to the community, giving its members the confidence that they can properly represent the community’s needs in their dialogue with BC Ferries” he said this week.

John said “Over the past few years I’ve had terrific support from colleagues on the FAC and I’m especially grateful to Steven Earle who agreed to co-chair the committee whenever I’ve been away over the past couple of years”

“The Ferry Advisory Committee is, as the name implies, purely advisory – and although we are nominally appointed by BC Ferries, its role is to ensure that the interests of Gabriolans are communicated to BC Ferries whenever the need arises. If that means calling BC Ferries to account for doing something that has caused problems to the community, then so be it” he said.  “BC Ferries managers have respect for FACs that can present them with factual evidence rather than relying on political inertia and a reluctance to accept change.”

“It’s particularly important for any FAC to gain the confidence of BCF management and to understand the constraints within which the corporation is required to operate – but that doesn’t mean that the FAC cannot challenge their decisions if we have the facts to support that challenge.”

“Having a career in transportation management in both public and private sector taught me that commercial organisations will always set their direction based on the anticipated financial outcome, but they are not always as close to understanding the needs of their customers as they might think.  It’s the job of the FAC to try and convince BCF managers to do things differently, and sometimes that’s no easy task”

“Good luck to the committee in their endeavours!”

All change on Horseshoe Bay/Departure Bay ferry

As part of a major shake-up of ferry services in and out of Horseshoe Bay, BC Ferries has announced new schedules to improve services on the Langdale and Bowen Island Routes. These new schedules will include changes to Route 2, between Horseshoe Bay and Departure Bay in Nanaimo.

Starting January 2, a revised schedule is proposed for Route 2, with minor changes to morning sailings and more significant changes to afternoon and evening departures. Initially this schedule runs up to the end of March, but it seems likely that the core service could remain broadly the same through next summer. [Note: schedules for the remainder of 2018 will be published by the end of September]

Here’s what the changes to the schedule will look like. Note that the departure times will no longer be identical from both ends of the route:HSB At our November FAC meeting we will need to consider whether any adjustments should be made to the Gabriola ferry schedule to accommodate connections with the Route 2.

Do you use the ferry to/from Horseshoe Bay? How will these changes affect your journey? Please give us your views using the comment box below.