Category Archives: Transportation

SRD Update: March 27th meeting and more

At the March 27th meeting of the Strathcona Regional District Board, a couple of items affecting Cortes were on the agenda. Decisions were taken with regard to funding for our community halls, and equipment for our volunteer fire department.

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From Hitacu to Tofino, new public transit service connects Vancouver Island’s west coast communities

Editors note: It has been a year since the Strathcona Regional District Board instructed staff to examine the feasibility of a weekly, or bi-weekly, transit service from Campbell River to the West Coast of Vancouver Island. This will not have served Cortes and Quadra Islands, which were allowed to opt out of the plan. While there has been periodic discussions of a Cortes to Campbell River transit system, the only vehicle to serve this route is the Klahoose Community Bus. It makes the trip twice a week, on Tuesdays and Thursdays.

By Alexandra Mehl, Ha-Shilth-Sa, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter

Tofino, BC – On April 2, the communities of Hitacu, Ucluelet, Tofino, Esowista, Ty-Histanis, and Tofino will be connected through a long-anticipated year-round transit service.

“The ACRD is excited that we can finally offer this essential service to residents on the west coast,” said John Jack, chairperson for the Alberni-Clayoquot Regional District (ACRD), in a press release.  “For too long reliable public transit has been a challenge for people as they struggled to get back and forth to work, school, recreational activities, appointments, or shopping. This service will fill that void, and we look forward to connecting the west coast.”

Continue reading From Hitacu to Tofino, new public transit service connects Vancouver Island’s west coast communities

BC Ferries urged to chart a new course around LNG

Editor’s note: The MV Tacheck, which sails between Heriot Bay and Whaletown, has a 200 kW-hr battery bank and is considered BC Ferries’ first ‘hybrid ferry.’ However it was built in 1969 and The Tachek’s primary power source is conventional diesel engines. It is currently scheduled to be replaced by one of the six Island Class hybrid-electric ferries in 2027. BC Ferries CEO Nicolas Jimenez told Cortes Currents that as the infrastructure to go fully electric is not in place, the new ferry will initially have to rely in its diesel engines.

 “I would say the technology hasn’t quite caught up  to us, but in 20 years, 40 years, 60 years, 80 years, I think that would be a very different proposition.  We might have different energy sources like hydrogen (and others) that today aren’t really being explored as viable in this industry, that could be with advances in technology. I think we have to be open minded about the whole thing, but it’s definitely going to be a cleaner, greener future.”

Canada’s National Observer, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter

BC Ferries has launched a bid to build up to seven green flagship vessels but climate groups are urging the company to abandon liquified natural gas to fuel ships and speed electrification of its fleet to reach its emissions targets. 

The ferry service recently revealed it has teamed up with a naval architectural firm to develop an early design to replace six large aging vessels and expand capacity on the busiest routes between the mainland and Vancouver Island. 

Continue reading BC Ferries urged to chart a new course around LNG

Think ferry meetings are scary? Ha. Try City Council.

Editor’s Note: On February 3, 2024, BC Ferries held community drop-in meetings on Cortes and Quadra Islands. There were 25 and 34 participants, respectively. A big concern on Cortes is ‘assured loading.’ BC Ferries stated they need to monitor the effect of using two ferries between Campbell River and Quadra first, but will reevaluate loading procedures after the summer. The first steps towards full electrification of the Campbell River run (design and BC Hydro upgrades) have begun. The design work is expected to take a year. Some sailings on the Campbell River – Quadra route were cancelled because of a lack of crew members and BC Ferries is in the midst of the biggest recruitment campaign in its history.

Originally published on qathet Living

For the past several weeks, Kim Barton-Bridges has tried to figure out when – or whether – BC Ferries executives planned to come to Powell River for the regularly-scheduled spring Northern Sunshine Coast Ferry Advisory Committee meeting, which she chairs. 

The last one was September 21, at the Town Centre Hotel. That one was a little raucous, because some locals were angry about a summer of waiting for hours in hot parking lots, a reservation system that had failed, the cost of traveling, and sailing cancellations due to staffing problems and occasionally technical problems. Although ultimately, Kim noted, everyone at the meeting was relatively respectful. 

Continue reading Think ferry meetings are scary? Ha. Try City Council.

Two new active transportation paths planned to connect the Comox Valley

Editor’s note: While bike lanes and paths have long been proposed on both Cortes and Quadra Islands, the only community with a dedicated cycling infrastructure in our area is Campbell River. There are approximately 85 km of planned or extant bike routes in the city. The longest existing route is an ocean view bike lane, which swings west into Campbellton and then out to the city limits on Island Highwat #19. There are hundreds of kilometres of mountain bike trails on Quadra, but cyclists have to use undedicated roadways to get around the island. Despite the lack of bike lanes or paths, 14.13% of the respondents to Cortes Island’s Active Transportation Survey stated bicycles are their usual mode of transportation. (Only 63.04% drive alone or carpool, 2.17% hitchhike and 20.63% walk.) These numbers may reflect the number of Cortes residents who shop locally and primarily use their vehicles off-island.* 58% of the respondents described the lack of a dedicated bike infrastructure as the island’s principle transportation challenge. The second biggest challenge (41.3%) was a lack of walking paths.  

The North Salish Cycle Route (which would, for example, allow Cortes residents to pedal across to Campbell River, down to the Comox Ferry, over to Powell River and then home to Cortes) is primarily along roads with no bike lanes. Cyclists would also need to cross from Lund to Cortes Island on a water taxi. 

There are plans to build ‘a safe, efficient route for cyclists, pedestrians, people using mobility scooters’ from Lund to Sechelt.

By Madeline Dunnett, The Discourse Local Journalism Initiative Reporter

Comox Valley Regional District (CVRD) is planning on building two new active transportation paths to connect communities in the Comox Valley. 

The Cumberland to Courtenay Connector will link the Village of Cumberland to the City of Courtenay/ The Royston Road path will run up from the waterfront Seaside Trail and then turn on Livingston Road towards the elementary school. 

Continue reading Two new active transportation paths planned to connect the Comox Valley