Gabriola Island residents already know what to expect when BC Ferries releases the final reduced service schedules on March 31st.

Gabriola Island Ferry Advisory Committee Chair John Hodgkins says BC Ferries sent them a final draft, and they’re quite confident it’s exactly what will be revealed next week.

The changes to ferry routes across coastal BC are due to kick in April 28th. Hodgkins says the new schedule for Gabriola takes into consideration many of the changes the FAC requested, after hearing concerns from residents about the changes originally proposed by the province. He says they’ve been able to preserve the late night sailings by creating a gap in the middle of the day.

The first round trip on Saturday and Sundays is being scratched, but Hodgkins says they’ve also been able to add a mid-day sailing for 11 weeks during the peak summer period.

The last ferry to Gabriola Island will leave Nanaimo at 10:30pm on Sundays and 11:05pm during the rest of the week. The full schedule is available online.

Hodgkins says it’s not perfect, but it addresses about 95 per cent of the concerns residents raised when the province initially released the modified scheduled. He says they’ll watch carefully over the next six months to see if there are other small adjustments that can help overcome some of the inevitable problems. He says BC Ferries seems prepared to listen to requests for adjustments, providing the adjustments can be achieved within the existing cost parameters.