Harbour ferry service to replace Blue Boat shuttles

Plans are underway to offer a new ferry service that will shuttle military and defence personnel between Colwood and CFB Esquimalt.

The vessel Grey Selkie cuts through the waters off Nanaimo in this undated photo. This 40-passenger vessel is one of two Victoria Harbour Ferry Company boats used to shuttle military and civilian defence personnel between Colwood and CFB Esquimalt May 1

Plans are underway to offer a new ferry service that will shuttle military and defence personnel between Colwood and CFB Esquimalt.

It could start as early as May 1, the day after the base’s Blue Boat sails for the last time, pending final approval from base officials.

The Victoria Harbour Ferry Company’s plans, announced Wednesday, are in the final stages of negotiation with CFB Esquimalt commander navy Capt. Craig Baines.

The private ferry service, which does not yet have an official name, will offer a service to personnel that is a mirror image of that provided by the Blue Boat. Two 40-passenger boats will run a total of 28 sailings each day of the work week, between Colwood, Dockyard and Naden.

The company is buying a new boat so that it can have two 40-foot boats, each manned with two crew members, in the water at one time.

There is strong demand for a water ferry service from military members as well as residents throughout the region who are concerned about traffic congestion, said Barry Hobbis, Victoria Harbour Ferry vice-president of operations.

More than 750 military and defence personnel responded to a company survey. Of those, 98 per cent said they wanted to see a water shuttle continue at the base.

“I hope we’re able to look after those people that I think right now are very frightened,” Hobbis said. “There’s lots of families with one car that just don’t know how they’re going to (manage) that.”

CFB Esquimalt officials are also excited about the proposal.

“We’re really interested because they’re an established company that has suitable vessels and want to seamlessly transition into this service as of the first of May,” Baines said, noting there are security issues, among other issues, that need to be addressed before the replacement shuttle can begin.

“Right now we’re confident that we’re going to be able to work through those issues and we’re really hopeful we can make that target date.”

Even after learning of the ferry service, Colwood resident Cynthia Cummings still plans to launch a “Blue Bus” service May 1, for military and defence personnel and members of the public.

“Of course, it is really up to the members themselves which service they want to use. In saying that, I think the obvious choice would be a boat service because it is faster,” she said.

“We were there to basically be an assurance to the military member that they were going to get to and from work. So if something else was brought forward, that just gives them another option.”

For details on the Victoria Harbour Ferry Company’s water shuttle service, visit www.victoriaharbourferry.com. For more on the Blue Bus shuttle, visit www.bluebusshuttle.com.

 

Just Posted

Saanich police are seeking suspect in sexual assault report

Incident happened early Saturday morning near Rudd Park

Saanich to hear update on regional sewage treatment plant

Likely subjects of presentation include fate of trees along Grange Road, costs

Canadian students are smart cookies

Canadian teachers also among highest paid in the developed world

Local fundraising initiative addresses tampon recall

Period Posse checking donations during 10-day campaign

Langford light up celebration was the biggest one yet

The city spends about $25,000 annually on Christmas lights

Langford elementary school kids test their hand at entrepreneurship

Students sold their own products at a Young Entrepreneurs Fair Friday

POLL: Are you dreaming of a white Christmas?

The rain Vancouver Island is famous for is coming down in buckets,… Continue reading

Greater Victoria Crime Stoppers wanted list for the week of Dec. 11, 2018

Greater Victoria Crime Stoppers is seeking the public’s help in locating the… Continue reading

Canucks score 3 power-play goals in 4-2 win over Oilers

Vancouver sniper Boeser has 6 goals in last 5 games

Microscopic parasite found in Prince Rupert water affecting thousands

More than 12,000 residents affected by the boil water advisory issued Dec. 14

Trudeau lashes out at Conservatives over migration “misinformation”

Warning against the “dangers of populism,” Trudeau says using immigration as a wedge political issue puts Canada’s future at risk.

B.C. hockey coach creates ‘gear library’ to remove cost barrier of sport

Todd Hickling gathered donations and used gear to remove the cost barrier for kids to play hockey.

Canada’s ambassador meets with second detainee in China

Global Affairs says John McCallum, Canada’s ambassador to China, met with Spavor Sunday

‘They’re coming:’ Flying cars may appear in urban skies by 2023

Air taxis will number 15,000 and become a global market worth $32 billion by 2035

Most Read