There’s been big step forward in the plan to set up a passenger ferry between Nanaimo and Vancouver. The City of Nanaimo and Island Ferries have reached a tentative lease agreement for a fast ferry terminal.
Nanaimo Mayor John Ruttan says Council met with Island Ferries representatives on during an in-camera meeting on Monday. He says it’s exciting that they’ve been able to come to an agreement, at least in principal, for Island Ferries to set up a terminal on the Wilcox property.
Ruttan says staff will now work on drafting a final lease agreement. He says it will be a different approach than a partnering agreement that had previously been proposed. Beyond providing water and sewer services to the site, the City will simply be entering into a long-term lease. Details like the parking situation still have to be worked out. Once completed, the detailed lease agreement will come back to Council for approval.
David Marshall, Director of Marine Operations for Island Ferries, says it will be a 20-year lease, with two renewable terms. He says they will set up initially at the GADD Marine site, but they anticipate relocating to a terminal on the Seaspan site sometime in the future. He says that will be up to the City, but for now they’re eager to let potential investors know about the draft lease agreement.
Marshall says it will be six months from the time they have all their financing in place to when they can launch the ferry service.