March 19, 2019 8:28 pm
Updated: March 19, 2019 11:51 pm

Could a passenger ferry cure Vancouver Island’s dreaded ‘Colwood Crawl?’

BC Ferries says it's looking at a proposal to have a passenger ferry serve the Victoria area. Kylie Stanton explains where it would go, and how long people will have to wait until it could be in service.

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A new proposal is being floated as a solution to the growing number of frustrated commuters stuck in the Victoria-area “Colwood Crawl” everyday.

BC Ferries and SNC Lavalin are exploring the idea of a foot-passenger ferry linking the booming western communities with downtown Victoria.

“The notion that we could take potentially 1,000 cars off the road would help make improvements to the Colwood Crawl,” said BC Ferries Spokesperson Deborah Marshall.

READ MORE: Victoria-area mayors call on B.C. for south-island rail commitment in 2019 budget

In the 201 page pre-feasibility study, the most advantageous option would be to have two ferries, operating at 30 minute intervals, 16 hours a day.

They would move between three proposed locations: initially from Royal Bay, over to Ship Point in Victoria’s Inner Harbour, with an option to add an Esquimalt terminal down the line.

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To make it financially viable, the recommended fare would be $5.75 a trip.

“If people were driving into downtown, they’d still be paying more for parking,” said Colwood Mayor Rob Martin.

READ MORE: B.C. Ferries unveils proposals for major redesign of Swartz Bay terminal

Then there’s the money it will take to get the project up and running. The capital costs amount to more than $41 million, with an additional $10 million per year to cover staffing and fuel.

“From a capital standpoint is really where we are going to be struggling and why need to have the province on as partners,” said Martin.

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In a statement, the Ministry of Transportation and Infrastructure says the study is to look at the possibility of whether such a proposal would be feasible.

“At first glance, the report presents a number of opportunities and challenges,” it says.

READ MORE: BC Ferries is closing the Duke Point ferry terminal in Nanaimo on Saturday and Sunday

It is still early stages, but the fact a ferry is even being considered is making a splash with commuters.

“Be a lot nicer than sitting there on the road going, ‘Are you moving yet?'” said Brenda Hunter.

“I’d like to see that happen, just see if that will help.”

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