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

Suspect with pellet gun draws serious police response in downtown Nanaimo

Officers respond with guns drawn at Port Place shopping centre

City of Nanaimo takes measures to protect people experiencing homelessness during pandemic

City to provide additional water sources and washrooms, council directs creation of food plan

Nanaimo Art Gallery teen art group creating COVID-19-inspired art

Code Switching group lives on online after physical meetings cancelled due to pandemic

Shoplifting way down, break-and-enters up in Nanaimo during COVID-19 pandemic

Break-and-enters to businesses increased 65 per cent in the last two weeks of March, say police

From inside the ER: B.C. doctor tells it like it is from the frontlines of COVID-19

‘Stay home. It’s working,’ says ER doctor in a Q&A discussion, ‘And please don’t worry.’

Dogs are property, not kids, B.C. judge tells former couple

Court decision made on competing lawsuits over Zeus and Aurora — a pit bull and pit bull cross

B.C. senior gives blood for 200th time, has ‘saved’ 600 lives

There was no cutting of cake for Harvey Rempel but he’s challenging youth to start donating blood

Trudeau commits $100M to help food banks amid COVID-19 crisis

Funds will help ‘urgent food needs’ for Canadians awaiting federal emergency benefits to kick in

Couple won’t self-isolate after returning from overseas: Cowichan by-law

New law requires 14 days of self-isolation when returning to Canada

How well can cell phones carry COVID-19? Disinfecting may be wise

‘You want to keep it as clean as you would normally your hands’

3M pushes back on Trump administration call to stop sending N95 masks to Canada

3M says it has already been turning out as many of the N95 masks as possible

COVID-19: Vancouver Islander celebrates 90th birthday with Model T ride as neighbours line streets

WATCH: Pandemic ruined plans for a party, so Francesca Dawe’s friends got creative

B.C. health care workers gain access to virtual health care options

During COVID-19 many clinics have closed, leaving health care workers with nowhere to turn

Most Read