West Shore commuter ferry more realistic after sale of Royal Bay lands: chamber

West Shore chamber announced study by Black Ball Ferry Line and Royal Roads University into the feasibility of a commuter ferry to downtown

It’s still just an idea but now it’s one with the building blocks in place to actually make it happen.

The concept of a ferry linking the West Shore to downtown Victoria has been bandied about before but now that prime real estate at Royal Bay has been sold to developers, the proposal can be taken a little more seriously.

“The trigger, really, for us is the sale of Royal Bay, “ said Westshore Chamber of Commerce CEO Dan Spinner, referring to the sale of 419 acres of long empty waterfront property in Colwood.

In May, B.C. Investment Management Corp. purchased the land from Lehigh Hanson. The long-range plan calls for a village centre and 2,800 single family homes. The area will also be home to a new high school recently announced by the Sooke School District.

The chamber announced June 7 it will facilitate a study by Black Ball Ferry Line and Royal Roads University into the feasibility of a commuter ferry connecting the Inner Harbour and the West Shore.

Though Black Ball is a U.S. company, its president, Ryan Burles, lives in Metchosin. Black Ball has a number of staffers who have direct experience with smaller ferries serving the islands of Puget Sound.

A ferry service to the Inner Harbour would help protect “quality of life” for commuters living on the burgeoning West Shore, Burle said.

“It is kind of a puzzle,” he said, noting the most critical piece will be ensuring a ferry fits seamlessly into other transit services. That means it needs to be accessible by bus or light rail and the cost for riding the ferry can’t be prohibitive.

One model that works is the Sea Bus in Vancouver, which requires a ticket that allows riders to use the Sky Train and the bus system. However, the big difference is that the Sea Bus operates over a relatively calm surface while Royal Bay to the Inner Harbour can be rough waters.

“No matter what, every route is different,” Burle said. “It’s not like an airport.”

Exactly what the sea state allows is one of the biggest questions needing to be addressed by the ferry study. Another is whether the developers planning the Royal Bay community will commit to a terminal on the land, said Burle, noting that his company can help by offering expertise on the subject from the ground floor.

RRU student Jonathon Calderwood has been tasked with the study. It will focus on whether a passenger ferry would ease the Colwood Crawl, the notorious rush-hour traffic snarl that slows commuters who live on the West Shore but work in the metropolitan core.

Chamber public relations co-ordinator Lindsay Vogan said Calderwood should have his report finished by the end of this year. “He’ll be doing a lot of interviews,” she said. “With the amount of people moving to the West Shore and how fast it’s growing it just makes sense to give people a different way of getting to and from work.”

The study will examine best practices of other commuter boat services around the continent as well as delve into ferry failures. Groups with a stake in such a commuter service on the West Shore will also be interviewed.

editor@goldstreamnews.com

Just Posted

Victoria seniors want to know more about marijuana

Four presentations on the medical properties of cannabis for seniors come to Victoria

Rickter Scale: California Dreaming with Steve Shutt

The Rickter Scale is a weekly column in the Goldstream News Gazette

Victoria gears up to axe free parking on Sundays

Council vote puts Sunday parking fees towards bus passes for youth

Oak Bay one step closer to deer immunocontraceptive test

Up to 80 deer could be given ‘birth control’ vaccine in the fall

Students give two thumbs up to no more B.C. student loan interest

Eliminating the loan interest charges could say the average graduate $2,300 over 10 years

Greater Victoria Wanted List for the week of Feb. 19

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

Manitoba ‘pauses’ link with ex-B.C. premier Gordon Campbell after allegations

Campbell had been hired to review two major hydro projects

Nanaimo edges Royal Bay by one point to win Vancouver Island AAA girls basketball title

Nanaimo District Secondary School wins first AAA girls’ Island title in 29 years

City of Port Alberni cancels tourist train operations for 2019

Steam train to McLean Mill is out of commission for repairs; city wants to re-examine rail costs

Heritage minute features Japanese-Canadian baseball team, internment

The Vancouver Asahi baseball team won various championships across the Pacific Northwest

UPDATE: Woman, off-duty cop in critical condition after stabbing outside B.C. elementary school

The officer was interceding in an alleged assault when he and the woman were stabbed

$10-a-day child care not in 2019 budget, but advocate not irked

Sharon Gregson with the Coalition of Child Care Advocates of B.C. says NDP on track to deliver promise

B.C. Seniors Advocate questions labour shortage in care homes

Are there really no workers, or are care aide wages too low?

Most Read