WV approves downtown ferry link
WV approves downtown ferry link
Pilot project for foot passengers will run from 14th Street pier
Sarah Ripplinger, North Shore NewsPublished: Wednesday, October 21, 2009
It's anchors away for a privately operated ferry service after District of West Vancouver council agreed Monday to a proposal to transport passengers between the 14th Street pier and the Bute Street dock in downtown Vancouver.
The 70-passenger ferry service is set to launch in November as a six-month trial project. The service will be an extension of the Bowen Island to Bute Street Dock service that was set up by Coastal Link Ferries in October, 2008.
Six sailings are expected to run Monday to Friday, split between two rush-hour shifts, with a total one-way trip time of approximately 15 minutes. The morning sailings are tentatively scheduled for 7:30, 8 and 8:30 a.m. and the afternoon sailings for 4:30, 5 and 5:30 p.m. The cost for the ferry ride would be $5 one-way and $9 round trip. A special introductory fee of $4 one-way and $7 round trip would be in effect for the first month of operation according to Coastal Link's Ihab Shaker.
"I think this is a really exciting opportunity, especially for the merchants of Ambleside and commuters going downtown," said Coun. Shannon Walker.
Walker said the ferry service could provide commuters coming to and leaving West Vancouver with a useful transportation alternative. "It's another exciting option for people to have to get home," she said.
At present, the ferry is a wholly privately operated service, but a majority of council members voted to approach TransLink for additional funding.
"We're getting shaken down by TransLink at every turn," said Coun. Michael Smith. "It's a rape of our taxpayer." Smith later apologized for the comment.
Smith proposed asking TransLink to cover a portion of the fare of each passenger travelling on the ferry. "It's ridiculous what we pay in property taxes, gas taxes and everything else to TransLink and we never get anything back, so we have to be constantly in their face saying, look we want something back for our tax dollars."
Walker opposed the motion, stating that she felt it should remain solely in the hands of a private operator.
Council discussed the possibility of expanding the dock so that people could park their boats and visit the restaurants and other commercial establishments in Ambleside. That proposal, as well as the ferry service, fits into the official community plan and Ambleside community plan, which call for the revitalization of the area.
Parking could become an issue, however, if the number of visitors to Ambleside increases substantially, Coun. Trish Panz noted.
Some all-day parking is available at Ambleside Park, said Mark Chan, manager of corporate initiatives with the district, but John Lawson Park offers only three hour parking and the others only one- to two-hour parking spaces.
As such, Chan said, the ferry service is currently being targeted towards pedestrians and cyclists.
Stephen Jenkins, manager of sustainability, said that there could also be an option for more parking near the pier.
Up to five bicycle parking spaces will be available on the ferry, according to Shaker.