British Columbia

Proposed Texada Island-Comox ferry service would cut hours from island's commute

BC Ferries has given the nod to a pilot project for direct service from Texada to Comox that would run twice a week.

BC Ferries has announced a pilot project to run direct service from Texada to Comox in late 2018

Passengers from Texada Island currently have to travel on the North Island Princess to Powell River as part of a five hour journey to Comox. (Kam Abbott)

It's a lengthy commute, even if it offers an unbeatable view. 

The current trip from Texada Island to Comox takes five hours, including the stop-over in Powell River. 

But BC Ferries has announced its support for a pilot project to run a direct ferry from Texada Island to Comox that would only take an hour. 

"What's being proposed is a direct link between Blubber Bay and Comox," said Kim Barton-Bridges, the chair of the Ferry Advisory Council for Northern Sunshine Coast.

"We have an aging population over there," said Barton-Bridges. 

"And most of those seniors need to get onto the [Vancouver] island for medical appointments and that sort of thing. So, that's 10 hours travelling before you even deal with your appointment."

According to Barton-Bridges, the pilot project would involve the Salish Orca ferry stopping at Texada on its way to Comox from Powell River.

During the pilot project, the Salish Orca will follow a so-called triangle route between Powell River, Texada and Comox. (Remontowa Shipbuilding)

However, BC Ferries spokesperson Deborah Marshall says the dock at Blubber Bay on Texada needs an upgrade. 

"This pilot will be at least a year out. We need to upgrade the marine structures at Blubber Bay, so it can safely handle the Salish Orca on a regular basis. Our engineers are currently assessing the project to determine the work required on the structures."

Marshall says the direct route would run twice a week, once on a weekday and once on the weekend.

The approval of the pilot project is good news, according to Barton-Bridges.

"It has all sort of benefits for the community, economic ones, social, cultural. If there are events over on the [Vancouver] island residents can attend those. And I think the key is probably business and medical appointments for seniors."