Next study for ferry terminal will include entire area impacted by ferry operations

Derek Kilbourn

Sounder News

Tuesday, August 22 2017

When a future planning study on the Gabriola ferry terminal is done by BC Ferries (BCF), the Ministry of Transportation and Infrastructure (MOTI) will be ensuring the study includes the entire area impacted by ferry traffic - not just the immediate terminal and parking lot.

That according to Mike Pearson, MOTI’s local regional manager.

He was asked recently by Steve Earle, Co-chair of the Gabriola Ferry Advisory Committee (FAC), if a traffic study of the terminal was ever going to be done.

“We made a request two years ago to MOTI and BC Ferries; nothing has been done.”

Pearson said the good news he had is that MOTI staff have been meeting with BCF staff, and BCF is taking on future planning for their terminals.

“Since we haven’t started on the traffic study, we’ll be working with them on a terminal study, including crosswalks and other areas of concern.”

John Hodgkins, Co-chair of the FAC, said he had to reinforce the idea that if and when the study happens, “we really do need this study to go beyond the environs of the terminal. We’ve had a number of occasions over the last couple of years where we’ve raised concerns about the ferry lineup - BCF says that’s beyond their agreement to influence that.

“My understanding is when the BCF system was set up under the contract, the Ministry was going to ensure there were 75 car spaces for the lineup on Gabriola. We have to assume those 75 spaces started at the corner of Easthom Road and then went around to where the one-sailing wait sign is.”

As Hodgkins pointed out, 75 vehicles in the current lineup takes you past the bridge over Mallet Creek. Most daytime lineups in the summer reach in excess of 80 vehicles, almost to the Descanso Bay Regional Park entrance. “Last year, we had a four per cent increase in traffic. This year, there’s been a five per cent increase. Traffic volumes are growing and so are the safety problems. 

“Make sure the study extends beyond the immediate environs, that is a safety issue for all the vehicles.”

Pearson said MOTI is not just working with BCF for the study. “We will help set the scope of what that [study] looks like.”