BC Ferries is seeking input from Southern Gulf Island communities on new ferry schedules as it looks to increase capacity with the new Salish-Class ferry in 2022.
With the goal of providing better service to each island, BC Ferries said in a press release that it has split public consultation into two phases. The already underway first phase aims to develop a list of criteria with communities that will evaluate schedule options later in the process. In phase two, the company will present schedule options to the community and use the criteria to evaluate them.
BC Ferries says the new, larger ferry replacing the Mayne Queen will increase capacity by introducing it into the current schedule, but community feedback will help create an improved schedule for the Southern Gulf Islands.
Phase one is taking place online due to the COVID-19 pandemic, but BC Ferries says it’s also reaching out to communities at terminals and on vessels via Ferry Advisory Committees. Those committees for the Southern Gulf Islands and Salt Spring Island will be “heavily involved in the engagement process throughout, helping to review community feedback and refine and finalize schedule options.”
“The Southern Gulf Islands are growing and changing, and working towards pandemic recovery,” said Mark Collins, BC Ferries’ president and CEO. “We want to better understand how things are changing for island communities and support their growth and recovery.”
He added that it’s important to consider the needs of all islands and during all seasons when looking to enhance schedules.
The ferry company said it last engaged with the Southern Gulf Island communities regarding schedules in 2015 and the feedback from then will also help inform the aimed 2022 enhancements.
More information can be found at bcferriesprojects.ca/sgi.