Not everyone on board with cable ferry suggestion

BC Ferries is proposing to link Denman Island and Buckley Bay by way of a cable ferry — which would set a world record and possibly drive away some of the island's residents, according to the local NDP provincial candidate.

BC Ferries is proposing to link Denman Island and Buckley Bay by way of a cable ferry — which would set a world record and possibly drive away some of the island’s residents, according to the local NDP provincial candidate.   Before a crowd of about 200 people on Denman, the corporation recently announced a plan to install a cable service that would stretch 2.2 kilometres across the water.”That, I think, caught a lot of folks off guard because there’s been no consultation. Folks are feeling really quite helpless,” said Comox Valley provincial NDP candidate Kassandra Dycke, who attended a second meeting Tuesday at Denman. BC Ferries commissioner Gordon Macatee, who is consulting with coastal communities about the ferry service in general, also attended.Some Denman residents said they might pack up and leave if the cable ferry goes through.”For a lot of people there it feels like the beginning of the end of the island as they know it,” Dycke said, noting residents started the Denman ferry service in 1923. The Ministry of Highways took it over in 1954.Dycke said the cable idea had been forwarded two years ago, at which time residents asked for more information but are now being told the service is a done deal.BC Ferries spokesperson Deborah Marshall said the corporation has been keeping residents and the Ferry Advisory Committee apprised of the situation.  The company intends to launch the service by November 2013. It will be out to tender shortly. “While everything is trending towards the cable ferry, our board of directors will make the final decision next spring,” Marshall said.If they give it the go-ahead, a cable ferry will be constructed to replace the Quinitsa that runs between Denman and Buckley Bay on the big island.”They (cable ferries) consume less fuel than a conventional vessel,” Marshall said, noting cost savings would “mitigate future tariff increases.”A cable ferry would be the same size as the Quinitsa, which would be moved to Cortes Island, which in turn would prevent BC Ferries from having to replace the Tenaka. Sailing times would be the same.”The intention is to look for an alternate service provider,” Marshall said.The Coastal Ferry Act requires BC Ferries to contract out if someone else can provide the same level of service at a lower cost. Nevertheless, the corporation would be ultimately responsible for ensuring service is provided, Marshall said. A crew of six operates the Quinitsa during a run while a cable ferry would require three people. The entire Quinitsa crew consists of 33 BC Ferries employees, 15 of whom live on Denman while 18 reside on Vancouver Island, Marshall said. Cutbacks could be through attrition, though she noted some employees might be reassigned to other routes.   Marshall said BC Ferries would look at moving the point of assembly to Buckley Bay, which would be easier in terms of crewing and fueling at night.”We actually have more crew on that ship who live on Vancouver Island, and they commute to work,” she said.  There are 11 cable ferries in B.C. and 67 in Canada. Marshall said the cable ferry operation is “proven technology.” Dycke, however, said a number of retired captains questioned the design and said a crew of three could not safely evacuate the vessel in an emergency.”I’m all for leaner and greener, but leaner and greener has to work,” Dycke said, adding the cutting of crews will leave about 21 families without a job. “This really doesn’t sound like it’s going to work well, and I’m not satisfied that they’ve (BC Ferries) done their homework.”There are multiple concerns about the service regarding its reliability and its safety,” she added. “If they go ahead and build it, this will be the longest cable ferry in the world.”The Denman-Buckley crossing would be one of two saltwater cable ferry operations in Canada. The other is a 600-metre crossing in contained water in Nova Scotia. “This is an open water crossing, and it’s 2.2 kilometres,” Dycke said, adding the original proposal said cable ferry service is deemed viable up to .9 km. She also notes the cable ferry will have a payload of 50 cars and 125 foot passengers. The next closest in Scandinavia allows for 40 vehicles and 30 foot passengers.”Again, they’re experimenting with payload,” she said. “No accommodation has been made for commercial vehicles. I think the biggest concern for Denman residents was with regards to emergency services.”Another bone of contention is the environmental assessment. According to Dycke, BC Ferries ignored residents but consulted First Nations, the regional district and those in the shellfish industry. The assessment passed, but she said no consideration was given to the potential impact on sea mammals.”This is an important migratory route for whales and sea lions,” Dycke said. “There’s some perhaps incomplete investigation.”reporter@comoxvalleyrecord.com

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Colin J.D. Crooks has published his debut novel, a fantasy titled “The Shards of Etherious: Arisen.” (headshot photo courtesy Joslyn Kilborn Photography)
Cumberland author delves into fantasy world with debut novel

The Shards of Etherious: Arisen is the first book of a five-book series

Cathy Browne is very proud of her new front door. All the new doors are lovely and create an individual look for each room. Photo submitted
Courtenay’s Glacier View Lodge dressing up its doorways for residents

Glacier View Lodge’s vision of ‘feels like home’ has been enhanced this… Continue reading

Ginette Matthews shows off some of the wares at The Local Refillery. Photo by Femke Overmaat
Pandemic meant going digital quickly for Courtenay’s Local Refillery

Owner Ginette Matthews says system keep business open in its early months

A health-care worker prepares a dose of the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine at a UHN COVID-19 vaccine clinic January 7, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Nathan Denette
Employers might be able to require COVID-19 vaccination from employees: B.C. lawyer

‘An employer must make the case’ using expert science, explains lawyer David Mardiros

Comox Valley RCMP are looking for witnesses after the theft of a generator worth thousands of dollars. Photo supplied
Comox Valley RCMP asking public to watch for stolen generator

Vehicle may have been travelling on Highway 19

U.S. Senator Bernie Sanders sits in on a COVID-19 briefing with Dr. Bonnie Henry, provincial health officer, and Adrian Dix, B.C. minister of health. (Birinder Narang/Twitter)
PHOTOS: Bernie Sanders visits B.C. landmarks through the magic of photo editing

Residents jump on viral trend of photoshopping U.S. senator into images

Cannabis bought in British Columbia (Ashley Wadhwani/Black Press Media)
Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

Jennifer Cochrane, a Public Health Nurse with Prairie Mountain Health in Virden, administers the COVID-19 vaccine to Robert Farquhar with Westman Regional Laboratory, during the first day of immunizations at the Brandon COVID-19 vaccination supersite in Brandon, Man., on Monday, January 18, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Tim Smith - POOL
Top doctor urges Canadians to keep up with COVID measures, even as vaccines roll out

More than 776,606 vaccines have been administered so far

From the left: Midway RCMP Csts. Jonathan Stermscheg and Chris Hansen, Public Servant Leanne Mclaren and Cpl. Phil Peters. Pictured in the front are Mclaren’s dog, Lincoln and Peters’ dog, Angel. Photo courtesy of BC RCMP
B.C. Mounties commended for bringing firewood to elderly woman

Cpl. Phil Peters said he and detachment members acted after the woman’s husband went to hospital

Dr. Jerome Leis and Dr. Lynfa Stroud are pictured at Sunnybrook Hospital in Toronto on Thursday, January 21, 2021.THE CANADIAN PRESS/Frank Gunn
‘It wasn’t called COVID at the time:’ One year since Canada’s first COVID-19 case

The 56-year-old man was admitted to Toronto’s Sunnybrook Health Sciences Centre

An Uber driver’s vehicle is seen after the company launched service, in Vancouver, Friday, Jan. 24, 2020. Several taxi companies have lost a court bid to run Uber and Lyft off the road in British Columbia. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
Taxi companies lose court bid to quash Uber, Lyft approvals in British Columbia

Uber said in a statement that the ruling of the justice is clear and speaks for itself

Nanaimo Regional General Hospital. (News Bulletin file photo)
COVID-19 outbreak declared at Nanaimo hospital

Two staff members and one patient have tested positive, all on the same floor

A long-term care worker receives the Pfizer vaccine at a clinic in Nanaimo earlier this month. (Island Health photo)
All Island seniors in long-term care will be vaccinated by the end of this weekend

Immunization of high-risk population will continue over the next two months

A 75-year-old aircraft has been languishing in a parking lot on the campus of the University of the Fraser Valley, but will soon be moved to the B.C. Aviation Museum. (Paul Henderson/ Chilliwack Progress)
Vintage military aircraft moving from Chilliwack to new home at B.C. Aviation Museum

The challenging move to Vancouver Island will be documented by Discovery Channel film crews

Most Read