BC Ferries and Gabriola FAC continue discussions on ferry lineup safety

Derek Kilbourn

Sounder News

Wednesday, August 7 2019

BC Ferries will not yet be assigning or hiring flaggers to work the Gabriola ferry lineup.

That according to communications sent from Darin Guenette of BC Ferries through to Steve Earle, Chair of the Gabriola Ferry Advisory Committee.

Earle had written to BC Ferries asking for an update on the request for BC Ferries to hire flaggers to attend to the lineup.

In his statement to the FAC, Guenette said that because the line-up does not impeded two-way traffic, responsible drivers should be able to pass in both directions safely.

“There is signage in place and police resources to monitor roadways.”


The lineup for the 1:50 sailing of the Quinsam from Gabriola on July 30, 2019, stretching almost to the Ivory Way intersection with Taylor Bay Road. Derek Kilbourn photo


Earle said the FAC is very disappointed, “not only because of BCF’s negative response to our request but because I had to remind them several times in the last couple of weeks that we had received no response at all to a request made in May. 

“We do not agree that “the line-up at least does not impede the two-way traffic”, and we are not prepared to shelve this issue because we do not want to see anybody hurt and are very concerned about the increasing level of rage within the community.”

This past Friday, Earle had a meeting scheduled with representatives of BC Ferries and the Transportation Ministry, as well as Gabriola RCMP Detachment Commander Cpl. Jennifer Prunty.

He said BC Ferries staff don’t believe flaggers will solve the safety issues on Taylor Bay road.

Earle said he and Cpl. Prunty, “argued that we thought it could at least help. 

“We all agreed that part of the problem right now is that there isn’t a clear policy on how vehicles should line up, including whether large vehicles should join the line up on Taylor Bay Rd. or park in the “oversize” bay on North Rd., what should be done about gaps, where the line-up should extend when the it reaches Ivory Way (down Ivory Way or further along Taylor Bay Rd.), and so on. 

“We decided to work jointly on the creating a line-up policy for Gabriola, and BC Ferries allowed that they would reconsider line-up attendants once that has been done.”

This past week, Mark Wilson, Vice President of BC Ferries Strategic Planning & Communication Engagement, wrote to the Salt Spring Island residents in the Gulf Islands Driftwood community newspaper, regarding the issues being caused at the Vesuvius terminal, now that the Quinitsa is serving that route. With regard to ferry traffic backing up on to the road leading to the terminal, Wilson writes, “our terminal staff are trained to safely manage traffic on the road leading to the ferry terminal, and can assist when the queue goes beyond our property.”

He adds that thoughts and comments are invited by BC Ferries through their customer service email customerservice@bcferries.com