Photo : Snuneymuxw First Nation

Snuneymuxw First Nation has purchased the 48-seat vessel Grey Selkie from Victoria Harbour Ferry Co. to provide improved access and transportation to Newcastle Island while strengthening the Snuneymuxw economy. Fares for the round trip to Newcastle Island will be just $5 this year, down from the previous $9 fare – which was seen as a deterrent, especially for families.

NCI Ferry Service President Erralyn Thomas said they plan to run the ferry from April through October at the very least, and hope to provide limited access year-round, if demand is warranted. In her eyes, SFN taking over ferry service is a catalyst for further economic and cultural opportunities for Snuneymuxw. The new operator, NCI Ferry Service Ltd. is beneficially owned by Snuneymuxw First Nation and is responsible for NCI management and development.

The new ferry service starts on April 1 and will be as frequent as every half-hour in the peak summer period, running on a triangular route between the Waterfront Suites and Marina dock on Stewart Ave., Maffeo Sutton Park and Newcastle Island.

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  1. Please chat with the new owners about extending their runs to Gabriola. They might have better regulatory and approval success than a non First Nations proposal. They sure seem to have the right pricing attitude. In business school the concept is that the price volume relationship is not a rigid fixed ratio, there is price elasticity of demand. That is, demand (volume of customers) will change at a different rate than changes in price. At some price point the total revenue maxes out. BC Ferries still seems incapable of fully embracing this fundamental business concept.

  2. Right now, we have nowhere (other than Green Wharf) that a passenger ferry would be permitted to land on Gabriola. The RDN restricts access to their wharf at Descanso Bay to emergency vessels only (which includes water taxis when Quinsam is out of action) and have previously been unwilling to upgrade the wharf for general use, which would require additional funding approval.

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