Saturday, April 20, 2024
April 20, 2024

Viewpoint: BC Ferries proposals endorsed

BY HAROLD SWIERENGA

The following are comments from the Salt Spring Island Ferry Advisory Committee on the “BC Ferries Submission for Performance Term 6” document.

The Salt Spring Island Ferry Advisory Committee (SSIFAC) is in broad agreement with the thrust and the details of the BC Ferries Submission to the Commissioners for PT6. We endorse in general the BCF “commitment to service” in the form of such proposals as: the enhanced movement of passengers and freight throughout the routes; the reduction of the impact of the marine traffic on the marine environment and marine wildlife; and the ongoing push for fuel efficiencies. We also recognize that these efforts will be ongoing well beyond the scope of PT6.

The submission recognizes that the two routes connecting Salt Spring to Vancouver Island are among the heaviest traffic routes in the BC Ferries system, with Route 4 (Fulford Harbour to Swartz Bay) particularly challenged regarding vehicular capacity. The planned short-term stop-gap proposal to increase the peak-season daily round trips between Fulford and SWB should help significantly, although it could possibly disrupt the current thrufare connection somewhat. However, as there is hourly service on Route 1 during the same peak season, the disruption should be minimal and we therefore endorse the proposal as a temporary measure to resolve the severe overload and road congestion problems on this route.

Moving the MV Quinsam to Route 4 for additional peak season service within a few years will be another positive step, but as traffic builds over the years the “peak” season for the Quinsam on Route 4 will eventually become all year-round and BC Ferries will hopefully implement a much-needed two-ship service on this route. The “pinchpoint” accident-in-waiting site on the Fulford-Ganges Road would then be resolved.

With reference to Route 6 (Vesuvius to Crofton), the submission proposes to deploy the twin Island Class ferries to Route 6 by fiscal 2027 in better co-ordination with the timing of the upgrades of the Vesuvius and Crofton terminals, which will be completed for the 2028 peak season. The SSIFAC has been advocating for several years that both changes to Route 6 should be scheduled as closely in time as possible to maximize the operational benefits of capacity upgrades for both ships and terminals.

The SSIFAC recognizes that economic, financial, demographic and/or other factors may somewhat disrupt the timing of the schedules of the above improvements to ferry service to Salt Spring Island, but we totally endorse and support these proposals as they stand.

The above was submitted by SSIFAC chair Harold Swierenga and written with input from committee members.

Viewpoint: BC Ferries proposals endorsed

BY HAROLD SWIERENGA

The following are comments from the Salt Spring Island Ferry Advisory Committee on the “BC Ferries Submission for Performance Term 6” document

The Salt Spring Island Ferry Advisory Committee (SSIFAC) is in broad agreement with the thrust and the details of the BC Ferries Submission to the Commissioners for PT6. We endorse in general the BCF “commitment to service” in the form of such proposals as: the enhanced movement of passengers and freight throughout the routes; the reduction of the impact of the marine traffic on the marine environment and marine wildlife; and the ongoing push for fuel efficiencies. We also recognize that these efforts will be ongoing well beyond the scope of PT6.

The submission recognizes that the two routes connecting Salt Spring to Vancouver Island are among the heaviest traffic routes in the BC Ferries system, with Route 4 (Fulford Harbour to Swartz Bay) particularly challenged regarding vehicular capacity. The planned short-term stop-gap proposal to increase the peak-season daily round trips between Fulford and SWB should help significantly, although it could possibly disrupt the current thrufare connection somewhat. However, as there is hourly service on Route 1 during the same peak season, the disruption should be minimal and we therefore endorse the proposal as a temporary measure to resolve the severe overload and road congestion problems on this route.

Moving the MV Quinsam to Route 4 for additional peak season service within a few years will be another positive step, but as traffic builds over the years the “peak” season for the Quinsam on Route 4 will eventually become all year-round and BC Ferries will hopefully implement a much-needed two-ship service on this route. The “pinchpoint” accident-in-waiting site on the Fulford-Ganges Road would then be resolved.

With reference to Route 6 (Vesuvius to Crofton), the submission proposes to deploy the twin Island Class ferries to Route 6 by fiscal 2027 in better co-ordination with the timing of the upgrades of the Vesuvius and Crofton terminals, which will be completed for the 2028 peak season. The SSIFAC has been advocating for several years that both changes to Route 6 should be scheduled as closely in time as possible to maximize the operational benefits of capacity upgrades for both ships and terminals.

The SSIFAC recognizes that economic, financial, demographic and/or other factors may somewhat disrupt the timing of the schedules of the above improvements to ferry service to Salt Spring Island, but we totally endorse and support these proposals as they stand.

The above was submitted by SSIFAC chair Harold Swierenga and written with input from committee members.

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