Denman Islanders give cable ferry feedback face to face

DENMAN ISLAND — BC Ferries representatives faced a crowd of around 85 people Thursday night about the future cable ferry project.

DENMAN ISLAND — With concerns of safety, job loss and fare prices at the forefront, BC Ferries representatives faced a crowd of around 85 people Thursday night on Denman Island about the future cable ferry project.

Mark Wilson, vice-president of engineering for the corporation, offered a 15-minute presentation to residents prior to opening the floor to questions at the Denman Island Seniors’ Hall.

One of the key concerns residents had is they felt their views were not heard, said Wilson.

“I think we did hear from you,” he noted, and added a list of key concerns including safety, an alternate service provider, operational availability and the input on fares.

BC Ferries has been studying feasibility of a cable ferry on the route between Denman Island West and Buckley Bay on Vancouver Island for four years, and the company says users can expect a cable ferry to replace the traditional vessel by fall of 2014, in an announcement last Friday.

Wilson said the cable ferry has been tested significantly with tank models, will operate with the same speed as the current ferry, but have a better operational availability — 99.96 per cent, or the possibility of a sailing cancellation around five times a year, out of 12,000 scheduled sailings.

He added ferry refits will be significantly less, with a schedule of one in 10 years, compared to the current one in four years, and the ferry will be home-ported at Denman Island.

See Wednesday’s Comox Valley Record for the full story.

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