BC Ferry Commission Approves the Purchase of New Ferries for Gabriola, Quadra, and the Southern Gulf Islands

In a few years anyone who wants to ride the Quinsam will have to head to Salt Spring. The BC Ferry Commissioner has approved BC Ferries’ application for four new Island Class vessels and one new Salish Class vessel. Two of the Island Class vessels are earmarked for the Gabriola/Nanaimo route, the other two will serve the Quadra/Campbell River route, and the Salish Class Vessel will replace the Mayne Queen on its multi-island route in the Southern Gulf Islands. The Quinsam will be redeployed to the Crofton-Vesuvius route.

The following excerpt is of particular interest:

After receiving clarifications from BC Ferries, the commissioner is confident that the potential impact of the preferred option on future price caps will be offset by efficiency gains from fleet standardization and the eventual conversion to all-electric propulsion for the Island class vessels. The commissioner will take this into account when setting price caps for future performance terms. Accordingly, the commissioner has determined that the preferred option should not, in itself, drive future price caps significantly above the rate of inflation and is therefore affordable to ferry users and taxpayers.

The commissioner has noted that in its Application, BC Ferries has not stated their intentions regarding the potential conversion to all-electric propulsion for the four new Island class vessels other than providing extra battery space in the construction of the vessels. Given the trend towards all-electric ferries in Northern Europe and elsewhere BC Ferries should soon state their expectations and intentions regarding the potential conversion to all-electric propulsion for the Island class vessels to be deployed on routes 23 and 19.

For these reasons the commissioner finds the preferred option to be prudent because it demonstrates good judgment by proposing replacement vessels with hybrid propulsion.

To download the full report click here: http://www.bcferrycommission.ca/wp-content/uploads/2019/01/FC-Order-19-02-and-Findings-and-Determinations.pdf.


Tell Us a Ferry Tale

The FAC needs your help. We are preparing  a “Significant Service Request” to ask BC Ferries to reinstate mid-afternoon sailings year round. Since adding these sailings back into the schedule would mean that BC Ferries would be delivering a higher level of service than they are contracted to provide by the Province, we need to make our argument compelling. We have the data, but we need to hear from you. Please send us your stories of how these missing sailings have impacted you and/or your family or business. Ideally we are looking for short quotes that will illustrate the negative social and economic consequences of maintaining the schedule as it stands.

Please email your submissions to gabriola.fac@gmail.com. If you prefer to provide your submission in writing, you can drop it off at the Gabriola Library. We look forward to hearing from you!

BC Ferries Seeks Permission to Contract New Vessels

As part of their contract with the Province, BC Ferries must apply to the Ferry Commissioner for approval of major expenditures. BC Ferries has now submitted an application for four new Island Class vessels and one new Salish Class vessel. Two of the Island Class vessels are earmarked for the Gabriola/Nanaimo route to provide a much-needed increase in capacity.

The Ferry Commissioner has posted the application on their website, along with a notice inviting public comment. Deadline for public comments is November 30, 2018. Please consider taking a moment to let the Ferry Commissioner know what you think.

FAC Meeting Debrief

Couldn’t make last week’s FAC meeting? We’ve got you covered. Check out our updated Agendas & Minutes page for everything you missed. And if you really want to indulge your inner ferry geek, here’s a link to BC Ferries document outlining their plans for Performance Term 5. Warning! This is not a read for the faint of heart. If you’re the type to skip to the juicy bits, the information most pertinent to the Gabriola Route shows up between page 150 & 155. Happy Reading.

Next FAC Meeting

The next meeting of Gabriola Ferry Advisory Committee will be Friday October 19th at 11:30 at the GAC Hall.

Members of the public are invited to attend this meeting, but are reminded that this will NOT be an open house session. You will be welcome to speak on a particular topic, but please contact the Chair by email  at gabriola.fac@gmail.com ahead of the meeting. We will try and ensure that time is available for anyone who wishes to speak.

If you are unable to attend this meeting but would like the FAC to raise a matter on your behalf, please feel free to email us with details of your question.


Schedule Update

Please note that as of October 9, 2018 the Quinsam is on a new-to-us Fall/Winter/Spring schedule. The important change is that the mid-afternoon sailings which were restored for the busy summer season are now only running on selected weekends when traffic volume is expected to be high. See our schedule page for details.