A company planning a fast ferry service between Nanaimo and Vancouver says the sailings will start next summer.
The new Vancouver Island Ferry Company organized a launch event Wednesday, Nov. 9, at the Port of Nanaimo.
According to a release from the company, the foot passenger ferry service is slated to start in summer 2023 with terminals at the Port of Nanaimo’s cruise ship dock and the Vancouver Harbour Flight Centre in downtown Vancouver.
Two high-speed catamaran vessels built by the Netherland’s Damen Group will each hold more than 350 passengers. Sailing schedules, fares and other details will be announced at a later date but Alastair Caddick, the company’s CEO, said sailings will be early enough for commuters and late enough to come home after sporting events or concerts, for example.
“Islanders and mainlanders have been asking for a modern, fast and cost-effective way to travel between the Island and Vancouver,” Caddick said in the release. “We are so excited to be bringing forward an essential transportation service to the region and are committed to its long-term success.”
The Port of Nanaimo, Snuneymuxw First Nation and Conqora Capital Partners announced a long-term lease agreement a little over a year ago. The Nanaimo-based Vancouver Island Ferry Company has since been set up and its website, http://vifc.com, is now live.
“The creation of the Vancouver Island Ferry Company in Snuneymuxw territory provides amazing employment opportunities, diversifies the economy and ultimately brings people to this beautiful community to play and live,” said Snuneymuxw Coun. Bill Yoachim, acting chief, in the release.
Donna Hais, Nanaimo Port Authority chairperson, said in the release that the foot passenger ferry company will bring many positive economic impacts in the region.
“Looking at tourism, the opportunity is extraordinary,” she said. “The ability to have people in Vancouver come over for the day, weekend or longer and see what a fabulous community we have and really bring the world here in a modern and reliable new way, is incredible.”