Gabriola Ferry Advisory Committee is deeply concerned about safety on the roadways immediately around the ferry terminal at Descanso Bay and in the area of the traffic queue along Taylor Bay Road, where dangerous and illegal manoeuvers are common amongst those wanting to ensure their position in the line-up. The situation is even more hazardous at present because of slippery surfaces and busy holiday traffic.

In August 2015 the FAC wrote to the Ministry of Transportation and Infrastructure pointing out the danger to pedestrians and cyclists at the terminal itself. Without even a crosswalk for pedestrians, the situation at the terminal is extremely dangerous, especially when the ferry is loading and unloading and the traffic level is intense and chaotic. Our request for a study of traffic safety was supported by the Gabriola Local Trust Committee, the Gabriola Transportation Advisory Commission, the Regional District of Nanaimo, School District 68 and the Gabriola Island RCMP but so far, nothing has been done by the Ministry of Transportation and Infrastructure (MoTI).

In September of 2016 the FAC wrote again to MoTI, emphasizing the very dangerous situation on Taylor Bay Road stating that: “Summer 2016 has seen further growth in ferry traffic, with long queues most days along Taylor Bay Road. Increasing numbers of drivers are making U-turns on Taylor Bay Road, leading to at least one accident and several near-misses. RCMP officers have cautioned or ticketed drivers making dangerous and illegal U-turns on the highway.” The Ministry was asked to consider a number of different options for re-routing the line-up, but to date has not responded to our request.

The issue of road safety was also a major part of the FAC’s meeting with BC Ferries in November 2016, where the FAC put forward a proposal to re-route the ferry line-up from narrow and curvy Taylor Bay Road where about 80% of drivers are forced to make a U-turn to join the queue, to North Road.

It’s not just the FAC that is concerned about safety around the ferry terminal. Gabriola residents are taking to social media once more since the winter weather arrived, concerned about drivers ignoring traffic signs, making illegal u-turns and blocking the traffic lane by parking across Mallett Creek bridge.

The FAC is calling on BC Ferries and the Ministry of Transportation and Infrastructure to take immediate action to resolve the traffic safety issues around the ferry terminal on Gabriola, and to make our roads safer for pedestrians, cyclists and motorists.

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  1. is the proposed decision to close off lower decks on large ferries under your influence. This money grab will place people with animals who walk on into even worse travelling conditions as well as negatively affecting disabled and elderly travellers . I would assume that long distance truckers who would normally sleep in their trucks will also be forced to move up.
    I also want to thank you for the work on the line-up but since BCF seems to be ignoring us it mainly comes down to people acting badly and illegally I would not like to see the line up moved up the hill. Surely education and a few concete road blocks can correct this problem. If people started telling their fellow islanders to close gaps surely that would also help. Thanks for working on our behave and happy holidays.

    1. Hello Lesley. The proposal for enclosed vehicle decks (ie the lower truck/rv/car decks) to be closed to passengers during the voyage will bring BC Ferries into line with the majority of ferry operations around the world. It is almost unknown for any coastal ferry service in Europe to permit passengers to remain in vehicles. We are still waiting to find out what has triggered this decision now – Transport Canada safety regulations have been cited, but we await more information. Let’s be clear, though. Disabled travellers will still be able to remain in vehicles on the upper car deck and pet owners should be able to request upper deck spaces too. The decision will primarily affect drivers of commercial vehicles – and it must be hoped that BC Ferries will follow the lead of their European counterparts and provide drivers’ lounges that will ensure commercial drivers are able to take their rest periods in comfort. On the subject of the ferry line-up, the FAC has always been clear: decisions affecting traffic management outside of the ferry terminal are the responsibility of the Ministry of Transportation & Infrastructure, not BC Ferries. It is therefore to the Ministry that the FAC has expressed its concerns – and, notably, we have done so with BC Ferries’ support, as they share our discomfort with the current situation.

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