Advisory committee to reveal findings on fast-ferry proponents

NANAIMO – A technical advisory group, appointed in late July to review three foot-ferry proposals, will present its report on Wednesday

Consultants tasked with helping Nanaimo pick a foot-ferry operator will reveal their findings this week.

A technical advisory group, appointed in late July to review three foot-ferry proposals, will present its report to the Nanaimo Port Authority, City of Nanaimo and Snuneymuxw First Nation this Wednesday (Nov. 9).

The meeting will be closed to the public.

Island Ferries, Clipper Navigation, and Australian company Riverside Marine submitted expressions of interest earlier this year to run a passenger ferry service between downtown Nanaimo and downtown Vancouver. The technical group, made up of chartered accounting firm Ernst and Young and marine consultant Gordon Houston Associates, was tasked with analyzing the proposals, including companies’ finances and ability to run the service.

At the time, the consultants were expected to either select a group or company or rank them so it would be up to a tripartite committee to make recommendations to their respective councils and board.

Moira Jenkins, chairwoman of the port authority board, said the hope is for advice as to the three proponents and what each brought to the table.

“Wednesday is certainly going to be a day where we can all get together and start making decisions. It is an important day,” she said.  “I know the public is waiting patiently and so are we. There’s a lot of work that has to be done in order for that TAG team to make us a recommendation that is logical. They’ve been hard at work on that.”

Nanaimo Coun. Wendy Pratt, who sits on the committee that will hear the report, called the process complex.

“We want to get it right and so, I’m very much looking to see what the experts have said about it and whether or not we have what we need to move forward with it,” she said.

Pratt also said she doesn’t believe the city is going to have a fast-ferry immediately.

“There’s a lot of pieces that need to come together to make that happen and I hope our community can be patient while that happens because in the end it will be worth it.”