BC Ferries Public Information Session

On Tuesday, February 19, 2019 from 3-6pm at the Gabriola Arts and Heritage Centre, (GAC Hall) BC Ferries is holding a Public Information Session. descansobaylotAmendments to the text and maps of the Gabriola Official Community Plan and Land Use Bylaw are required to allow the long-term implementation of a new Terminal Development Plan for marine infrastructure and upland areas at the Descanso Bay Terminal. The purpose of the info session is to describe the proposals and hear from the community before making an application to the Islands Trust.

For more information, visit https://www.bcferries.com/about/publicconsultation2/terminal-development-planning/gabriola.html.

And don’t forget about our last post: The FerryCam Needs you!

The FerryCam Needs You

The FerryCam has served our community well for many years. The brainchild of several Gabriola gentlemen who call themselves the “Lunch Bunch”, it was established with the aim of giving back to the island in a meaningful way. Until now the system has been financed and maintained by the Lunch Bunch with the support of a few local businesses, but times have changed, the system has evolved, and the Lunch Bunch needs your help.

How Can You Help?

The Lunch Bunch needs funds to replace equipment and make the system more reliable. There are two ways to participate:

The Village Foods Card Program – For each $100 Card you purchase, Village Foods will donate $5 towards the FerryCam system.  Simply keep topping up your card until the Lunch Bunch reaches their $3,000 goal.  It costs you nothing.

Make a Direct Donation – The Card program is great but it could take up to a year to achieve the $3,000 goal. Ideally, the Lunch Bunch would like to install the new cameras this spring, in advance of the peak ferry usage season. Village Foods will only issue one cheque once the goal has been reached, or once the Lunch Bunch informs them that they have enough funding. After the funding goal is achieved, cameras need to be ordered and installed which takes more time. The only way that an upgraded system can be in place by summer is through direct donations.  For each direct donation, no matter how small, the Lunch Bunch will reduce the $3,000 Card Program funding goal.

How to Make a Donation -There are many ways. Here’s what the Lunch Bunch suggests:

You can send an E-Transfer to robongabriola@shaw.ca (I suggest “ferrycameras” as a password or e-mail me, your PW choice separately), or mail a cheque to Rob Maynard, PO Box 124, Gabriola, B.C. V0R 1X0. Write Ferry Cameras donation in the memo line. Or I’ll take cash or a check in person –  you can just bring your donation to 751 Lockinvar Lane.  Sorry, we can’t issue tax receipts. For more information call Rob Maynard at 250-247-7278.

All funding received goes toward the capital cost of 2 cameras as the Lunch Bunch and its existing business supporters will continue to pay all operating costs.

For those interested in the nitty gritty, here’s the full explanation from the Lunch Bunch as to why the upgrades are needed:

In 2018, we added a new and better camera aimed at the Ferry Ramp.  The 11-year old camera which was replaced became the backup in case any of the 3 operational cameras failed and needed to be sent out for repair. But then 4 reserved spots were added at the front of the lineup and the Ramp camera no longer showed the cars that could not get on ferry.  So, to see these cars we installed our backup camera on the roof of the Skol Pub.  Unfortunately in low light the picture goes black; this also makes it useless as a backup camera. Camera #2 failed over the Christmas Holidays and it took several days to get it working. Having to climb a tree or go up on the slippery metal Skol Pub roof in winter is dangerous.  The system needs to be reliable.  This is why the Lunch Bunch is asking for your financial support to buy 2 cameras at a cost of $3,000.  Questions? Contact Rob Maynard 250-247-7278.

**Please note that while the Gabriola FAC deeply appreciates and enthusiastically supports the activities of the Lunch Bunch we are not financially affiliated in any way.



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.