CHAMBER CHAT: Alternate transportation from Island to Lower Mainland needed

NANAIMO – Chamber of commerce supports Island Ferries Service proposal for fast foot ferry to downtown Vancouver.

By Kim Smythe

Nanaimo’s key to being the “hub” of Vancouver Island has always been our central location for on- and off-island travel. As a long-standing association dedicated to Better Community through Better Business, we believe strongly that an alternate, efficient and convenient means for Nanaimo businesses and residents to physically connect to and from downtown Vancouver is a necessity. And the perfect candidate for this is knocking on our door.

Island Ferries Services offers an exciting opportunity for all of Vancouver Island. Their two high-speed catamarans shuttling back and forth to downtown Vancouver provide many benefits to passengers.

It is innovative, faster and less expensive than B.C. Ferries or float planes.

It reduces the reliance on cars, and will create good, family-sustaining jobs here on Vancouver Island. It will boost tourism, real estate, investment and economic development for much of Vancouver Island.

Beyond serving tourists travelling back and forth, concert or sports event fans and day-trippers, the dream is to have downtown Vancouver workers realize that the 55-minute ride home to Vancouver Island is a pretty pleasant commute.

In addition to improving the daily ‘slog,’ there is the added feature of owning a home at a quarter to half the price of the Lower Mainland. Work in Vancouver by day, commute by sea, enjoy the Island lifestyle, and end up further ahead financially – what’s not to like?

B.C. Ferries is becoming more costly each year – especially for businesses and families travelling with a car – while air travel can be an expensive proposition and is prohibitive for repeat and regular use when commuting downtown to downtown. Island Ferries offers riders an additional choice and provides a much quicker connection between the business centres that is so important to the economic future of Vancouver Island.

Island Ferries proposal deserves the support of all levels of government and your Greater Nanaimo Chamber of Commerce endorses its proposals to government to support it as well.

If you believe in ferries, please take a moment to sign a letter to all levels of government and say so.

Catching a ride to downtown Vancouver on a high-speed luxury catamaran can be a step closer just by clicking on http://goo.gl/jXXIOR.

Kim Smythe is CEO of Greater Nanaimo Chamber of Commerce.