Changes are coming to B.C. Ferries downtown Nanaimo terminal, which will undergo redevelopment starting in 2021. Among changes will be the replacement of the MV Quinsam that will be replaced with two of B.C. Ferries’ new Island-class craft. News Bulletin file photo

B.C. Ferries reveals plans for downtown Nanaimo terminal improvements

Terminal development plan proposes more vehicle space, better terminal access, and twin ferries

Nanaimo residents can get a glimpse at how an upgraded B.C. Ferries terminal in Nanaimo Harbour might impact the downtown waterfront.

B.C. Ferries’ Nanaimo Harbour Terminal Development Plan was approved and published online in March.

The 66-page proposal provides the ferry corporation’s vision of how the terminal will be restructured to accommodate expected future growth in traffic between downtown Nanaimo and Gabriola Island.

Among considerations noted in the plan are how vehicles will access the terminal to prevent lineups of cars on Front Street, adequate holding space on the site for vehicles waiting to board ferries and even how best to accommodate pedestrians on the proposed Harbourfront Walkway extension, which currently ends on Front Street next to the ferry terminal, but will be extended along Port Drive property toward the Nanaimo cruise ship terminal.

story continues below

According to the document, the plan calls for leasing a section of Port of Nanaimo land adjacent to the south side of the terminal to add more holding space for up to 80 vehicles and provide an access lane to the terminal along Front Street to prevent vehicles from having to line up along the street, while waiting for drivers to purchase boarding tickets. Re-designing the ticket kiosk for faster boarding pass sales processing is part of a list of proposed solutions to make getting foot and vehicle traffic into and out of the terminal faster and safer.

The plan also proposes removing the existing curved single-lane loading trestle, which is nearing the end of its life span, and replacing it with a two-lane straight loading ramp. The existing berth would be replaced with a new one plus a tie-up berth beside it.

Improving the waiting room and passenger amenities were also listed among the top three concerns raised during public consultation meetings held in Nanaimo and Gabriola last year.

RELATED: B.C. Ferries to reveal Nanaimo-Gabriola terminal plans

The terminal development plan for downtown Nanaimo is part of a overall strategy by the ferry corporation to look at all of its terminals and find ways to optimize operational and cost efficiency.

Another change to Nanaimo Harbour’s seascape will come in the form of the vessel that sails across the harbour. The MV Quinsam, which makes nearly 5,000 trips annually between downtown Nanaimo and Descanso Bay, is scheduled for retirement in 2029, to replaced by two of the new breed of Island Class ferries, possibly as early as 2021, according to B.C. Ferries.

Tessa Humphries, B.C. Ferries communications manager, said in an e-mail current plans call for terminal redevelopment construction to start in early 2021.

As for accommodating pedestrians on the extended Harbourfront Walkway, which will have to go around, through or under the terminal loading ramp, no firm decisions have been made on how that will be achieved, but there are three primary options under consideration, Humphries said.

“There are three options presented, and they have been identified as the preferred options, but they all require a series of approvals before moving forward,” she said. “It’s just a bit premature to comment at this time.”

A terminal development plan for Gabriola Island’s Descanso Bay was also approved last month.



photos@nanaimobulletin.com
Like us on
Facebook and follow us on Twitter

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Nanaimo will be the community hardest-hit by ferry layoffs, union says

B.C. Ferry and Marine Workers’ Union looking at its legal options

Woman arrested in Nanaimo after attempted RV break-in with owner inside

Incident happened April 1 in the 700 block of Drake Street

Community strength urged in combatting COVID-19 in Nanaimo

Health-care workers at Nanaimo Regional General Hospital saluted

COVID-19: Nanoose Bay man forges hearts for his community

Kasprick has already given out approximately 400, plans to make it 600

‘Better days will return’: Queen Elizabeth delivers message amid COVID-19 pandemic

The Queen said crisis reminds her of her first address during World War II in 1940

Emergency aid portal opens Monday, cash could be in bank accounts by end of week: Trudeau

Emergency benefit will provide $2,000 a month for those who have lost their income due to COVID-19

Education, not enforcement: B.C. bylaw officers keeping a watch on physical distancing

A kind word, it turns out, has usually been all people need to hear

‘Stay strong’ graffiti message offers encouragement in downtown Nanaimo

Boarded-up Modern Café regains some of its colour during COVID-19 pandemic

No more ferries will sail from Departure Bay during COVID-19 pandemic

B.C. Ferries announces major changes to sailing schedules starting Saturday, April 4

COVID-19: Hospitals remain safe for childbirth, say Vancouver Island care providers

North Island Hospital has been asked to share its perinatal COVID-19 response plan

Canadian cadets to mark 103rd anniversary of Vimy Ridge April 9 virtually

Idea of Captain Billie Sheridan in Williams Lake, B.C. who wondered what to do in times of COVID-19

B.C. VIEWS: Pandemic shows need for adequate care home staffing

Seniors in B.C. care homes face challenging times

Most Read