The mayor of a B.C. town is taking the first step toward creating a ferry that will carry foot passengers from Sidney to the Gulf Islands, because he says it will boost the town's economy.
Mayor Steve Price wants to add another ferry route to Sidney, one that could make the ferry ride from the town to the Gulf Islands a 20-minute trip.
"We're just about to hire a consultant to do a visioning process on our whole downtown waterfront, all the way from Port Sidney down to our fishing pier," said Price.
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The ferry route will be run independently and the city will operate the port in Sidney, according to Price.
The city will consider asking the provincial and federal government for infrastructure funding if there is enough interest in creating a new ferry route, said Price.
"This is such a critical link to the Gulf Islands."
He says the ferry route would "open up the whole market" for people looking to buy affordable housing on the Gulf Islands.
"There's quite a bit of affordable housing over there right now, but nobody can use it because you can't get over back and forth immediately."
Sidney, located just north of Victoria, is currently home to an international ferry port, where people can travel from the B.C. town to Anacortes, Washington in about three hours via Washington State Ferries. The route re-opened this week, following its annual winter break.
With files from CBC Radio's On The Island.
To hear the full story, click the audio labelled: Sidney to the Gulf Islands in 20 minutes? Mayor wants to make it happen.