Mar 18, 2019

BC Ferries has published a Pre-feasibility Study for a West Shore Express Passenger Ferry from Royal Bay in Colwood to Ship Point in downtown Victoria. The report provides a high-level assessment of the proposed service and the infrastructure that would be required. No decisions have been made about a ferry service.

The study estimates that with two ferries running between Royal Bay and Ship Point at 30 minute intervals during peak times, and a fare price of $5.75, the service could be cash positive in its first year of operation, generating $170,000 per year. 

"The report suggests that a West Shore Express passenger ferry could take up to 1000 vehicles out of the commute and move about one million people a year between the West Shore and downtown Victoria," said Mayor Rob Martin. "To put that number in perspective, the Sea Bus service in Vancouver carries about six million people each year."

The report discusses using a high-speed passenger catamaran ferry called the Damen Fast Ferry 3209. It has a capacity of 294 passengers and can maintain a speed of 25 knots even when travelling in significant waves of more than 2 metres. 

The report suggests that a 130m breakwater would be required to protect berths at Royal Bay.

One aspect that Mayor Rob Martin notes will need more consideration is parking. "Royal Bay offers some of the most beautiful waterfront on the island and is primed to become a world-class seaside destination," said Mayor Martin. "Some creative thinking around parking will need to be included if plans move forward."

A ferry service would also need to be part of a larger transportation strategy that includes enhanced transit service as well as road and intersection upgrades which are being planned now as part of Colwood's transportation master plan.

The study has been sent to the Ministry of Transportation and Infrastructure to consider among their plans for a long-term southern Vancouver Island Transportation Strategy. 

Once its stakeholders have reviewed the study, BC Ferries says the group will determine if the concept is worthy of further study. 

The next step would be for the Province to undertake a full feasibility study.  

Mayor Martin says people should keep in mind that these are long term plans. "Any proposal of this magnitude is going to be years in the making."

Media Contact

Sandra Russell, Communications Manager

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