Editorial: Leave early, late, or walk

Editorial

Tuesday, August 9 2016

The short-term solution to the ferry lineups is going to mean leaving Gabriola really early (6:15am sailing), or really late, or leaving the vehicle behind and walking on.

BC Ferries has said they have not yet reached overload for walk-on passengers this summer. So clearly, the overloads are a problem for people taking vehicles.

Even if Gabriolans were willing to change the current schedule, there’s no window left between 7am and 8pm on weekdays to add a sailing off of Gabriola, not if the Quinsam is still serving this route.

The solution would seem to be to put a larger vessel on the Gabriola route - but as BC Ferries has said, there is no larger vessel available. (Our problems pale compared to the massive lineups and vessel break-downs the Sunshine Coast residents had happening in July.)

Short-term, it seems we’re stuck with the linups.

Even worse to consider though, the Quinsam being assigned to another route, and Gabriola being assigned a 50-car vessel.

Long-term, or at least for the next 12 years, there is no plan on what to do when the 70-car Quinsam needs to be retired. Perhaps 12 years from now, our island will only need a 50 car ferry in the summer. Doubtful. But the mid-sized Salish-class vessels are in the 145 car capacity. Too big for our route, even in the midst of the summer.

BC Ferries needs a solution - islanders leaving cars behind mean people are not paying to get cars back to Gabriola.

Gabriolans need a solution soon, we can’t wait 12+ years for BC Ferries to find one.