Lunch Bunch still not getting a ‘yes’ from BCF for a Nanaimo Ferry Cam

Derek Kilbourn

Sounder News

Wednesday, November 7 2018

The Gabriola Lunch Bunch (GLB) is asking to expand their “ferry cam” service to the Nanaimo end of the Gabriola ferry route.

At the latest Gabriola Ferry Advisory Committee (FAC) meeting, Rob Mayrand presented on behalf of the GLB and asked BC Ferries for permission to do so.

The short answer from BC Ferries is that they will answer by the end of November.

Mark Wilson, BCF Vice-president of Strategy and Community Engagement, said BC Ferries was asking itself how it wants webcams to deliver into their service.

Terminal staff said there were potential security concerns with the idea of the ferry cam (a private third-party service) being operated through the internet service of the terminal.

Wilson said the other issue is the concern with people’s privacy and potential identification of passengers.

Mayrand said once the still photos go up on the web, the resolution is too degraded to identify people.

In the 10 years that the GLB has operated the ferry cam, there has never been a complaint. 

“Technically, all we need is a roof that looks at the last two rows in the ferry. We need a pole, an internet connection, and power. From a technical point-of-view, we have the expertise to do it.”

Mayrand said the way the cameras work, they do require a hardwire internet connection.

“People use the ferry cam for how much the ferry is loaded. They know if it was an overload - they know to get moving. When it goes down, we get phone calls.”

Wilson said he understood that the ferry cam is providing a service.

Mayrand said the GLB has spent about $10,000 to build the current setup.

“We have limited resources - after the article - we’ve got $500 in donations towards replacing the old camera.”

He said there is a fundraising drive coming - what the GLB would like to do is include fundraising to install a camera on the Nanaimo side “at no cost to BC Ferries. I’d like to know what the downside of that is to BC Ferries.”

Wilson said BC Ferries is looking to roll out its own standards. 

“We want to provide a standard so that you see into the parking lots and into the road.

“I don’t want to put that camera up, because I’d rather have a standard and have people look at our page.”

Mayrand said that “right now the people on Gabriola use our page. Are they going to also look at a BC Ferries site?

“It makes more sense to have it all in one spot.”

Wilson said he would commit to answering by the end of November. The company is moving forward on a plan for all the terminals to have WiFi, even the unstaffed ones (like Gabriola). No timeline was provided.