British Columbia

BC Ferries terminal closures proposed for Nanaimo, Salt Spring Island

BC Ferries should consider closing ferry terminals on Salt Spring Island and Nanaimo in order to keep costs under control, according the independent B.C. Ferry Commissioner.

B.C. Ferries Commissioner Gord Macatee wonders if the six terminals are necessary

B.C. Ferries needs to find $27 million in savings by 2020, according to independent commissioner Gord Macatee. (Darryl Dyck/Canadian Press)

BC Ferries should consider closing ferry terminals on Salt Spring Island and Nanaimo in order to keep costs under control, according the independent B.C. Ferry Commissioner.

Yesterday Commissioner Gordon Macatee proposed limiting annual fare increases to 1.9 per cent a year for four years starting in 2016.

He also wants the corporation to find more than $27 million in efficiencies by 2020,

And he's wondering if Nanaimo and Salt Spring Island both need three ferry terminals each.

"We're simply asking them [the corporation] to continue to do their work so we can see what the options would look like," Macatee said, adding the idea would be to avoid costs.

Minister rejects proposal

But Transportation Minister Todd Stone said it's an idea that he's considered, and rejected.

"We have no intentions of closing either of the terminals in Nanaimo," Stone said. "That from our perspective, is not on the table."

Nanaimo has two terminals that provide service to West Vancouver and Tsawwassen, and one smaller terminal for service to Gabriola Island.

Brian Hollingshead, the chair of the Southern Gulf Islands ferry advisory committee, said the debate over terminal closures is not over.

 "It's a bit early in the program for anyone to say, 'No, no, that's not on the table,'" he said.

Hollingshead said an economic analysis will be done, but decisions about closing terminals won't likely not be made until the end of the new ferry service contract in 2020.

Salt Spring Island has three terminals that provide service to Tsawwassen, the southern Gulf Islands, Swartz Bay in North Saanich and Crofton.

Last fall when BC Ferries floated the idea of cancelling service between Nanaimo's Departure Bay terminal and West Vancouver's Horseshoe Bay terminal as a cost-cutting measure, that idea was also quickly shot down by Stone.

With files from Lisa Cordasco

Comments

To encourage thoughtful and respectful conversations, first and last names will appear with each submission to CBC/Radio-Canada's online communities (except in children and youth-oriented communities). Pseudonyms will no longer be permitted.

By submitting a comment, you accept that CBC has the right to reproduce and publish that comment in whole or in part, in any manner CBC chooses. Please note that CBC does not endorse the opinions expressed in comments. Comments on this story are moderated according to our Submission Guidelines. Comments are welcome while open. We reserve the right to close comments at any time.

Become a CBC Member

Join the conversation  Create account

Already have an account?

now