Have your say

Terminal Development Plan for Nanaimo and Gabriola

The Ferry Advisory Committee invites comments and suggestions from Gabriola residents and businesses on the key issues that should be considered in the forthcoming Terminal Development Plan for the Nanaimo Harbour and Gabriola Island ferry terminals.

Concerns and opportunities identified recently by the FAC can be seen in a separate document here.

Comments and suggestions should be concise and constructive please. All comments will be forwarded to BC Ferries for consideration ahead of a planned public meeting in May/June 2018. We reserve the right to edit lengthy responses and remove any abusive material before publication.


30 thoughts on “Have your say

  1. Why can’t pedestrians board/disembark at the same time as vehicle traffic? This is done at other terminals, e.g. Quadra. It would require a separate walkway; surely not a huge expense at each end of the route.

    A time saving of even, say, three minutes per sailing (it’s likely much more) would greatly increase ferry efficiency. We should not have to wait until 2021 for such an obvious improvement.

    We also need some enforcement along the line-up, to stop people leaving large unnecessary gaps — sometimes 100′ – and to stop illegal u-turns. BC Ferries advises parking 2′ from the car in front; enforce it, please.

    • I’ve often thought the same thing. The current process of “pedestrians off, vehicles off, pedestrians on, vehicles on, pedestrians on” is very inefficient. But if there is not going to be any increase in turnaround time or increase in number of sailings as a result of changing the process then it probably really doesn’t matter.

      • If nothing else, it might reduce the possibility of running late during peak periods. I watched today; a cluster left, then two more appeared, just as most of the pedestrians were on board (Nanaimo); then another one came out while the two were almost up the ramp. At the Gabriola off-load, the same slackers were last off.

        With 16 sailings a day, even two minutes delay on each sailing adds up. Add in a few vehicle delays for full loads and the ferry is running 25 minutes late.

  2. Most of my business in Nanaimo is conducted within walking distance of the ferry terminal. But I need to take my car because I cannot climb the hill to the parking lot behind the pub. We need more passenger parking on lower level.

  3. Comments received via Facebook:

    Sherrie Spracklin : I hope we’re not going to have a huge terminal put here, we need another ferry, one coming and one leaving during the busy season, instead of construction and a bigger terminal. Don’t want that, and we don’t need that.

    Taylor Haigh : A very clear crosswalk with pedestrian control and a safe sidewalk is a good start. A less congested drop off/pick up for vehicles would also be great.

    Sarah Schwartz : I agree totally, I had the same thought. Especially about the sidewalk.

    Jilann Campbell : Exactly, I’m onboard with this!

    Louise Pearson : I do not live on Gabriola but do take the Ferry over 3 days a week, it is a gong show in the parking lot. I generally don’t walk up the hill and use the Gertie. which doesn’t always come. The last snow fall we saw probably an 11 yr old boy nearly hit by a B Train truck. As the roads weren’t plowed there was one pathway to walk and drive up the hill. Then we are told by RCMP “Get off the road these trucks can’t stop”, so where do you go. It is getting to the point to start video taping these drivers that are in such a hurry, no time management skills for getting up the hill. I hope there won’t be another fatality before some of this gets solved.

  4. How about a floating terminal? You only need something the size of the Quinsam to hold a full sailing’s worth of vehicles. It would remove most of the traffic from Taylor Bay Road while letting a new or larger ferry berth farther off shore . One of the old decommissioned ferries would be fantastic.

  5. In the interest of a thorough-going assessment of our Gab. ferry challenges please note the following.

    As well as Taylor Bay Road traffic, Easthom Road is a significant safety issue as well.

    Required travel lane widths for safe vehicular travel – Ministry policy: 7.2 meters or 23.5 feet. Yet vehicles always park illegally into road lanes.

    Easthom Road… an accident waiting to happen

    • vehicles parked on the travel right-of-way often as much as half of the lane.
    • vehicles passing opposite to each other have to stop or tentatively creep by to make their way.
    • car doors frequently opening obstructing up to 80% of the designated lane width.
    • during darkness parked cars are near unseeable requiring sudden evasive action to avoid rear end collision.
    • pedestrians are forced time and time again to walk in the lanes of oncoming traffic, this the only place available for making their way.
    • people, including children, suddenly step right out from between parked cars into oncoming traffic without looking.
    • clearly, increasing bank instability from parked cars

    There are parking spaces all the time in the parking lots adjacent to Skol.

    Perhaps no parking signs are required and enforced.

    The Easthom Road illegal ferry parking is a safety issue which needs addressing.

    C. Worthing

  6. saturday april 07/2018 the 3:45 ferry was heavy overloaded because the 2:25 ferry did not run to save money for the bc ferries. It is about time that the bc ferries put service ahead of profit. The ferry is a road to vancouver island for gabs . From 1980 to 2003 there were 3 more runs daily and 4 more daily on the weekend and of course the population has increased and the service has decreased.

  7. Hi Kevin. Yes, I was on that ferry too, and it was busy in the passenger lounge as well. The FAC has been pushing BC Ferries to reinstate those early afternoon weekend ferries for several years now, and we have had some success, first in getting the summer ones back and now in shoulder season and long-weekend runs back. We will continue to apply pressure to have all of the early-afternoon runs back into the schedule.

    Steve for the FAC

  8. Sunday April 15th:
    We were traveling from Gabriola to Nanaimo (a frequent occurrence) and the overhead safety announcement was excessively loud, long and at an inappropriate time of the voyage. It was 1 minutes into the voyage and this was not an opportune time because passenger focus was and is distracted at this time period. We would respectfully suggest either the messages are right when all the cars have boarded (and passengers are waiting for the vessel to depart) or 5 minutes out to sea after people are settled and able to listen and absorb the announcements. Regardless of the time of the announcements the primary concern is the excessive volume of the announcements.

    • I see that this change request was granted and the loud safely announcement is played on the Gabriola dock prior to departure. At 5:15 AM this announcement bounces of the rock walls of the Bay waking everyone up! Also why is it that when leaving Nanaimo harbour the safety announcement is played outside of the Harbour and many times not even not played at all?

    • And because of this “one” complaint, BC Ferries Management changed when the announcement was played. It is now playing at dock before the Ferry is engaged.
      That announcement bounces off the rock walls in the Bay and now with a 5:15am sailing waking up those around the terminal.
      Further it delays the Ferry from leaving the dock when for decades the announcement was played once underway. A 3 minute long announcement slows down the overall one-time performance further. If played outside of the Bay everyone wins.
      So with the same respect given to those living in the apartments at the Nanaimo side; can you please reconsider and sound the safety announcement outside of the Bay at 3 minutes into the voyage leaving Gabriola.

  9. Why are we building at great expense two brand new ferries, built in a foreign country when there is a surplus of used double ended (drive on/ drive off) ferries on the world wide market? If BC ferries was serious about solving the immediate transportation needs of the people of Gabriola, they would be looking at purchasing used, but by no means old or worn out ferry (possibly one of the many Greek ferries currently for sale) to mitigate the situation now. That way our ferry service could be vastly improved in a matter of months instead of years at great savings over these new dream boats that will not be in service for years to come.

  10. i just read in the Sounder about the new terminal and the points you disagreed with BC Ferries about. I was so glad to read that you stood up to them! Thank you and stick to your guns!

  11. Being an older person who has medical appointments n Nanaimo, I would like to see priority loading from Gabriola for any resident that has a valid tap form. Having to get a letter from your doctor and have BC Ferries approve it is a complicated process open to very few. With all the overloads getting to a medical appointment in Nanaimo is very stressful and time consuming.

  12. Concerned cyclist wondering about the rules:
    Who has the Right of Way while ferry traffic is unloading?
    My analysis: from the perspective of the passenger who is disembarking
    1) drivers coming downhill from the right have a stop sign, so they must stop and wait for an opening
    2) no signs posted for cyclists going up the ramp
    3) no sign for traffic coming down ‘ferry hill’
    I’m concerned that #2 and #3 may collide. By stopping for traffic fitting #3, I put cyclists behind me at risk of a minor accident.
    I’d like to continue going uphill from the ramp, but I’m concerned that the oncoming traffic may not yield to us cyclists.
    Thanks for reading,

  13. Interesting facts:

    1. The middle lane on the Quinsam is slightly wider than the other four lanes and only needed for semis, dump trucks, etc.

    2. The other four lanes are exactly the same width.

    3. Pickups and vans could therefore be in any of the four lanes but have been privileged for the middle three lanes.

    4. For years and years other vehicles have always been relegated to the outside lanes.

    5. The increased offloading time for regular travellers for those ‘other’ vehicles in the outside lanes over, say one year, amounts to about 24 hours. Significant.


    Will the smaller vehicles that will always be put up on the second deck of the new ferries finally be offloaded first?


  14. Riding the ferry and parking on the upper deck unable to get out of my car or let to he children out to use the bathroom. This is not ok!!! Also my family member the day before had to climb out of her window the use the bathroom.

  15. Please consider putting a phonetic spelling in brackets after our new ferries’ names in your communications. The ferries are an important part of our island life, and currently no one I have spoken with has any idea how to pronounce their names. A recording on your website would be even better.
    Many thanks!

  16. We live on the bottom floor of the Gabriola Biuilding on Cameron Island. For the past month the new ferries have been in operation. We have a ferry in our front yard approximately 6 hours throughout the day. Firstly, our view has been taken from us for that period each day. Secondly, even though the ferries are very quiet, the landing is not. An example is the June 21st, 5:30 p.m. docking of the Island Gwawis. I would not be sending this letter if it was a one-time event. It is happening much more often. Please consider relocating the dock where the ferries can approach the dock straight on.
    Thank you.

  17. Sorry. I think maybe when you decided to purchase and live there you maybe should have considered that you were choosing to live in such close proximity to the terminal. You could have chosen to live somewhere else. Sorry, but for every decision there is a consequence.

      • We purchased this property in 1966. At that time the the Ferry was not a view problem. The We live on the ground floor but people up to the 3rd floor have the same problem. People on the 4th floor only get blocked by the pilot house.profile of the Quinsom Ferry was not a deterrent to our view. (See pictures attached)

        Sent from Neil’s IPad

      • I have been following this string with amazement. Changing the berth for an approach perpendicular to the land would leave the vessel subject to cross currents. Decades (centuries) of experience have shown the better way.
        As regards the interrupted view: you live on the harbour side. Vessels coming and going are part of the view and enjoyed by many. When I see the ferry, I see activity, people going about their business, work, recreation, children going to and from school, the ferry crew employed in transporting their fellow citizens.
        Suggestion: change your perspective. You live in a nice building with a view of a port which is not all that busy. (Consider Singapore, Rotterdam or Hong Kong for busyness.) The ever changing view is part of the rich tapestry of life. Take a favoured libation, sit back, and enjoy.

  18. Happy Thursday. I rarely go to town and avoid using the ferries but today I really had to.
    With the lineups on the street quite long, there was some angry and confused people and I’m worried one oof these times it will get physical.
    There needs to be signage to explain what to do on the nanaimo side once we turn down the drive to helijet. People were parking in the Transit area, and freaking out because others were butting ahead going further down the road and joining the lineup. Then when I said to the people in the transit area they needed to join the lineup there was chaos. Instead of going down to turn around safely, they were doing 5 point uturns and blocking the whole road. Signage and explanations need to happen for the safety of everyone.
    Please respond on what will be done because I really don’t like to be called a f*cking b*tch for explaining the proper procedure. Thanks

  19. Hello. My note is to question why the 0810 ferry on Sunday mornings is late. I must admit I feel frustration in knowing I am now going to be late for work when taking this run. I realize the need for safety drills and the such but the captain knows when departure time is. The lateness is not an isolated incidence but with my experience which is only about one to two Sundays a month I have experienced this. I apologize if it is usually on time but pretty much every 0810 run I have been on is late. Could my concern please be brought forward to the captains and crews. In the Forty plus years that I have lived on Gab this is my only frustration about our ferry service. All in all I feel and believe we have an incredible service. Through out all my years on Gab I have felt this.
    Thank you to the crews.

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