Tag Archives: Heriot Bay Terminal

Terminal Upgrade Plan: BC Ferries Consults Cortes Residents

BC Ferries intends to upgrade their Heriot Bay and Whaletown terminals to accommodate new, higher-capacity “Island Class” ferries with the potential for all-electric operation. The construction project, scheduled for 2026, will necessitate closure of these docks and ramps — a serious logistical problem for BCF and for island residents.

On April 27th, 2024, BC Ferries hosted a two-hour open house at Mansons Hall from 12:30 to 2:30 pm, asking for community feedback and suggestions on their early draft plan for this disruptive project. The event was attended by more than 50 Cortes residents over the two-hour period; for those who were unable to attend, the online comment period remains open until May 6th.

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Ferry Advisory Committee: Cortes and Quadra talk to BC Ferries

Cortes Island’s Ferry Advisory committee met (via Webex, a Zoom-like conferencing app) on the afternoon of Wednesday September 27th at 12:30pm. The meeting had originally been scheduled as a “town hall” style event at Mansons Hall; however, at the last minute BC Ferries announced that their FAC meetings would be held online, due to threats of violence from the public.

Though such threatening behaviour seemed unlikely on Cortes Island, BCF’s policy apparently applies across the board. The last-minute change of venue caused some confusion, but approximately thirty people joined the videoconference call on Wednesday (including BC Ferries staff and FAC members).

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Changes coming to the BC Ferries for Quadra and Cortes Islands

The two much anticipated Island Class hybrid e-ferries are now in operation on the Campbell River to Quadra Island route. The new ferries will be sailing between Campbell River and Quadra Island approximately every half hour between 7:30 AM and 5:50 PM. A single vessel will serve this route in the early morning and evenings. 

“This was a long time coming for all of us, but we’re pleased to have the vessels going and seeing the throughput at the both ends of the terminals. There has been some bumps along the road for sure. We’ve had to make some minor adjustments with the way we stage traffic at the terminals. We’re exploring different options, trying to keep the on-time performance and the traffic moving as fast as we can” said Megan Caldwell, the Terminal Manager for BC Ferries.

Mark Vonesh, the Regional Director for Cortes Island had a different perspective, “We live on Cortes because we like to  have that isolation and sense of distance from the urban centers. That’s something that makes Cortes special, but we rely on the ferry. It’s an essential service for us. We require it for groceries, for medical, for appointments. It’s something that we rely on, and it’s a bottleneck for us. The new ferries that are coming on board obviously created some issues for Cortes.” 

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