Quinsam’s weight limits reached by commercial hauls

Derek Kilbourn

Sounder News

Tuesday, June 5 2018

The early morning sailings from Nanaimo continue to see standard passenger vehicles left behind at the terminal, as the weight limit of the Quinsam is reached with commercial vehicles delivering loads to Gabriola.

Commercial traffic on board the Quinsam on the 8:10 sailing leaving Nanaimo May 29. Derek Kilbourn photo

The 8:10 a.m. sailing and the following sailing at 9:25 a.m. are heavy loads of trucks hauling gravel, cement and roadwork oil, as well as the work crew vehicles.

Not uncommon are support crews parking their vehicles in Nanaimo and wheeling wheelbarrows of tools and supplies to a truck that is travelling on the boat to Gabriola.

Darin Guenette, Communications Manager from BC Ferries, said they know there is a stress on the Gabriola route with commercial traffic hitting the weight limit of the Quinsam. He said there is currently no room in the Gabriola schedule to add another sailing dedicated to either commercial traffic or to alleviating the pressure brought on by those commercial vehicles.

There is some work being done by BC Ferries in collaboration with Transport Canada to try to get the commercial vehicles approved to be on the vessel during dangerous cargo sailings - but that would only take some pressure off on Wednesdays when that sailing happens.

And, Guenette pointed out, the other issue is that some of the commercial traffic only needs three hours of turnaround time on Gabriola, while other vehicles are closer to six hours on island, making it difficult to anticipate when any sailings targeting commercial traffic should be scheduled.