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Snug Cove Ferry Terminal work will move to next year

Questions raised about how Bowen residents will get home at night
Snug Cove Ferry Terminal on Bowen Island in July 2023.

Scheduled repairs to the Snug Cove Ferry Terminal will now begin in 2024.

BC Ferries announced the three-month project in September, saying it would begin in mid-November and run into February. Several parts of the berth are in need of upgrades, including the ramp and walls. A full replacement of the terminal is planned for 2030.

Work will run overnight, and was originally scheduled to start after Remembrance Day. But BC Ferries says after conversations with the Bowen public, crews will now begin work in January instead. Going by the three-month timeframe, this would see the repairs completed in April.

“With the amount of feedback that we’ve gotten… our thought now is to ensure that we can properly account for and accommodate it (the feedback) as best we’re able, we’re going to actually delay our project,” said Jesse Lightman, project manger for BC Ferries, during Bowen’s Tuesday council meeting.

“We’d like to give the community a chance to better plan for this project. Their personal lives are very important… Let us come back fresh in January after an unimpeded holiday season and get to work at that point,” says Lightman.

BC Ferries provided some details on resident feedback during the council meeting and a subsequent Ferry Advisory Committee meeting. A main concern involved navigating the two sailings which will need to be cancelled each day to allow for overnight work – either the first and last runs of the day or the final two runs in the evening. Issues raised included getting to work on time if the 5:20 am sailing was scrapped, and getting home at night if the last boat to leave Horseshoe Bay is at 8 pm.

Much of the evening concerns were due to Bowen’s transit service not running late at night, and no taxi or ride service available on the island. Suggestions included a dedicated shuttle bus for people arriving later at night.

For people who need their vehicles on the mainland, BC Ferries will offer discounted parking in the parkade on days when the two sailings are cancelled. On weekends where a full day or more of cancellations are necessary – currently planned for once a month – parking will be free. Water taxis will be contracted for foot passengers during the cancelled sailings.

Lightman says he’s hoping BC Ferries can provide a detailed plan of the January-April project, including which sailings will be cancelled and how transit issues on Bowen will be addressed, in mid-November.

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