The MV Quinitsa docked at the Crofton ferry terminal. (Photo by Don Bodger)

The MV Quinitsa docked at the Crofton ferry terminal. (Photo by Don Bodger)

Petition offers ferry solution

Eliminating Crofton and Vesuvius backlogs the main concern

The idea to run two ferries between Crofton and Vesuvius Bay on Salt Spring Island is certainly unique and makes a lot of sense for so many reasons.

BC Ferries primarily has just one ferry to service each of its smaller routes. But it’s amazing on those busier shorter runs like Crofton-Vesuvius how traffic can build up in such a short time.

We’ve seen that especially during the last few years with frequent long lineups of cars along Chaplin Street in Crofton, all the way up to the turn onto Crofton Road in many cases, and also on the roadway leading to Vesuvius on the Salt Spring side.

Related story: Two-vessel service a suggested fix for Route 6 between Crofton and Vesuvius

The petition that’s been signed by more than 1,500 people as of earlier this week calls on BC Ferries to implement the two-ferry system with the MV Quinitsa and MV Quinsam running simultaneously so the rest of the community on both sides isn’t as impacted by the constant blockages and build-ups of vehicles.

The Quinsam is due to come on the route in place of the Quinitsa in the spring. David Courtney, the organizer of the petition, contends the two ferries could be utilized at a lesser cost to BC Ferries than any other option while solving all these issues at the same time.

There’s also backlogs at Fulford Harbour on the Salt Spring side that could be alleviated with more traffic heading toward the Crofton-Vesuvius route with the improved schedule.

Courtney knows it’s still going to be a tough sell because BC Ferries is rather set in its ways and might not give this option serious consideration despite the obvious solutions it presents. But he’s hopeful and so are many others that this might at least offer a short term fix.

The planned Crofton ferry terminal redevelopment could have been done by now, but got shelved temporarily due to COVID and it’s not known when serious planning will begin again.

But even with the redevelopment, it wasn’t going to reduce the traffic wanting to get onto the ferry. At least this plan presents a way to get more than 100 vehicles onto the ferries every hour rather than a maximum of 63 that represents the capacity of the Quinsam.