Commuters from Gabriola arrive at B.C. Ferries’ downtown Nanaimo terminal on a misty morning. B.C. Ferries is hosting two public information and feedback sessions about changes planned for the Nanaimo-to-Gabriola route. (CHRIS BUSH/News Bulletin file)

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

Information, feedback sessions to be held on plans for both terminals on Nanaimo-to-Gabriola route

Safer queue lines and other terminal upgrades are in the works for B.C. Ferries’ terminals on the Gabriola Island route.

The ferry corporation will reveal proposals to improve service and facilities for its Nanaimo-to-Gabriola route at two public drop-in information sessions next week.

“We’ve had a few meetings, internally, with our staff working group and we’ve also met with our ferry advisory committee for that route and began the process to create a new long-term plan with them,” said Brian Green, B.C. Ferries terminal development manager. “That started, we’re trying to identify some key issues and opportunities from their perspective, from our customer perspective as well as our internal staff perspective.”

Key issues for the Gabriola terminal at Descanso Bay include unsafe ferry traffic queuing lines and a lack of a vehicle holding compound, which creates potentially unsafe situations that include drivers doing U-turns to join the back of the queue and occasional queue jumping.

The Nanaimo terminal has a holding compound, but it frequently fills up, Green said, forcing vehicle lines out onto Front Street.

“We’re seeing increasing growth, year on year … and we’re also forecasting growth on the route in the future, so we’re trying to accommodate more vehicles, but we’re also trying to accommodate changing travel patterns,” Green said.

Rising foot passenger numbers mean public transit pick-up and drop-off areas must be improved in Nanaimo.

“On the Gabriola side there’s a recently launched community bus and there isn’t a real pick-up and drop-off area for the community bus to go down to terminal and pick up in a safe way,” Green said. “The bus actually just drives down to the terminal and does a U-turn – a bit of a three-point turn – on the highway, which is not that safe.”

Upgrades are also needed to Gabriola terminal bicycle racks and better terminal approaches for bicycles and foot passengers.

“We’re trying to look at the next 20 to 25 years, acknowledging, though, that there will be projects that come out of this plan that can be done in the short term … In the past, sometimes we haven’t had these long-term plans, so sometimes we’ve put in waiting rooms in locations where we might have put them in other places if we had a long-term master plan for that site,” Green said.

One change being scrutinized for the Nanaimo terminal is a new loading pier. When it is changed, B.C. Ferries hopes to eliminate the sharp curve in the structure to provide safer loading for large vehicles.

The process is also underway to determine if the MV Quinsam, which currently serves the Nanaimo-Gabriola route and can load 63 vehicles, but will be retired sometime in the mid 2020s, should be replaced with a single 100-vehicle-capacity vessel or two smaller 47-vehicle-capacity craft. The outcome of that process should be known sometime in the next few months.

The Gabriola Advisory Committee’s priorities align with those of B.C. Ferries.

“Our priorities are to improve the very unsafe ferry lineup situation on Gabriola,” Steven Earle, committee chairman, said in an e-mail.

The committee’s other priorities include increased safety and space for pedestrians and cyclists.

“Why we are going to the public next week, is to hear from our customers, hear from our key stakeholders, like B.C. Transit, the City of Nanaimo, Islands Trust and hear from them as to what they see needs improving and why,” Green said.

The first of the two information meetings will be held at the Vancouver Island Conference Centre in Nanaimo on Tuesday, May 15, 4-7 p.m. The second meeting will be hosted at the Gabriola Island Arts Council Hall, 476 South Rd., Gabriola Island, Wednesday, May 16, 3-6 p.m.



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

LETTER TO THE EDITOR: Don’t party in a pandemic

Why are people holding parties when they know it is a health risk, asks letter writer

Stilwell begins election race in Parksville-Qualicum

B.C. Liberals incumbent up for re-election as MLA

Best of the City: Breathe easy

Modo Yoga wins Best Yoga Studio category during challenging time for health and wellness businesses

Best of the City: How sweet it is

Burnt Honey Dessert Company serves up city’s favourite desserts

Best of the City: How sweet it is

Burnt Honey Dessert Company serves up city’s favourite desserts

Best of the City: This year’s winners

Nanaimo News Bulletin presents full results of our 2020 Best of the City readers’ survey

Best of the City: Greek taverna takes top spot

Asteras in the Old City Quarter chosen Nanaimo’s Best Restaurant Overall

Nanaimo parents say elementary schools aren’t appropriate voting stations in a pandemic

Elections B.C. says site of polling stations not yet determined, working with Dr. Henry’s office

MLA in a pandemic, Nanaimo’s Malcolmson looking to be part of B.C.’s recovery

Sheila Malcolmson running for re-election in Nanaimo riding

Vancouver Island Tour de Rock riders roll into Parksville Qualicum Beach

Saturday’s schedule includes Port Alberni, Ucluelet and Tofino, followed by Nanaimo on Sunday

PHOTOS: 2nd calf in a month confirmed among Southern Resident killer whale pod

Center for Whale Research said they will eagerly await to observe the calf to evaluate its health

Join Black Press Media and Do Some Good

Pay it Forward program supports local businesses in their community giving

2 British Columbians arrested, 3 at large in massive Alberta drug bust

Eight people are facing 33 charges in what police have dubbed Project Incumbent

Most Read