20/20 Vision for BC Ferries

Wednesday, February 5 2020

The Ministry of Transportation is soliciting feedback from the people of BC, on what their vision of BC Ferries should be, looking 30 to 40 years into the future.

The first problem with that long of a vision is it assumes that every government between now (2020) and then (2050 and beyond), there will be a political will to carry forward the vision of 2020.

The BC Government (of any stripe) tends to work more on a crisis to crisis vision right now. It’d be nice to have a vision that could last through at least one provincial election.

The other problem with that kind of visioning is it creates timelines that are ineffective at a community level.

One example - if we’re going to reduce the number of cars using the ferry, Gabriola needs a more robust public transit system to get people to a terminal which is woefully short on parking. GERTIE is doing an amazing job with what little it gets from the RDN and Gabriolans. But we need it to grow in the next five years. Not the next thirty.

At the very least, BC Ferries has plans to go to a two-ship system on the Gabriola route within the next two years.

And the terminal will get an upgrade - though not without some pushback from the Islands Trust - who are rightfully reminding BC Ferries that if it wants to be a private corporation (instead of a provincial entity) then it’s going to have to follow the rules.

Within the next 30 to 40 years, we could all be transported around by little automated bubble cars. Or maybe by then the technology allowing little quadcopter drones will have grown to where our vehicles can zip back and forth to Vancouver Island - or even the Mainland - without the need for a ferry at all, or a bridge.

Yes, we need to think somewhat in the long term. 

But not at the sake of holding back on making change now.