Colwood council approves idea of passenger-only ferry to downtown Victoria

Colwood council has unanimously approved the idea of a passenger-only ferry connecting Royal Bay in Colwood with downtown Victoria.

“Studies have already indicated that a ferry from Royal Beach in Colwood to downtown Victoria will remove 1,000 cars a day from traffic and will accommodate close to one million passenger rides per year,” Mayor Rob Martin said .

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“Royal Beach offers some of the most beautiful waterfront on the island, and with careful planning, the terminal and connections could add to the desirability of this space as a favoured destination for travellers and local citizens.”

The next step, said Martin, is to wait for $1 million in provincial funding for a full feasibility study coming out of the South Island Transportation Plan that the province is going to release in the winter of 2020.

He said he expects the study will come back in support of the ferry while calling for more research and the creation of a funding model. Martin said getting council approval was an important step in a plan to move the concept along.

The proposed ferry is being considered as part of the South Island Transportation Plan, aimed at moving people more efficiently via all travel modes in an area extending north to Duncan and west to Sooke. The study, which began in April and is expected to wrap up next year, also includes looking at the feasibility of commuter rail along the E&N corridor.

It would take at least three years for a Colwood-Victoria ferry service to start because of the need to build a full breakwater on the Colwood side and the wait for vessels to be ordered and delivered.

— with files from Jeff Bell

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