The Baynes Sound Connector at sunset.

Photo Credit: BC Ferries

Hornby Island is Ready to Ditch BC Ferries

It's more than residents who are tired of long wait times

They want a public service, not a corporation to get them from A to B

Every one of Hornby Island’s residents uses the BC ferry system, and they’re all sick of it.

Bonkers road-blocking lineups and wait times have only gotten worse since the ferry size was downgraded last November. And apparently, they’re bad enough to make even visitors complain.

More than 2,600 people have signed petitions for improved ferry service for Hornby.

Those are pretty strong numbers for an island of only 1,000 people.

“What’s upsetting to residents is Hornby and Denman, according to the stats, has been the worst performing run for overloads for quite some time in the whole system,” said Daniel Arbour, Area A director of the Comox Valley Regional District to Comox Valley News.

“Meanwhile, BC Ferries is putting double runs in Quadra and Gabriola Island. So everybody else is getting looked after…We don’t understand why we keep getting the short end of the straw in the system.”

Karen Ross of the Hornby Island Community Economic Enhancement Corporation described the route as having “pathetically inadequate service in the peak season and much of the shoulder season.”

She told the Comox Valley Record something needs to change, and fast.

If BC Ferries doesn’t address the public concerns and make some changes soon, residents will be stuck with these issues for the next four-year service contract.

The changes that need to happen to ferries seem pretty obvious for everyone living there.

“They’re under-sized,” said Arbour, whose longest time travelling from Hornby to Buckley Bay last summer was nearly 6 hours.

BC Ferries is reportedly considering extending the deck of the Baynes Sound Connector cable ferry, but residents are rooting for them to bring back a normal-sized boat.

Arbour said the Quinsam and Quinitsa, the ferries which were used before the introduction of the cable ferry, are available.

For some reason, they’re parked instead of being used for Denman and Hornby.

Arbour is so sick of the way BC Ferries is operating for small routes, that he thinks we should ditch their services for small runs altogether.

“I think they have failed over the years to be a community service,” he said. “They have run as a corporation, looking after the bottom line and always negotiating with the government. So why don’t we have the government operate it as a service for the benefit of coastal communities?”

He makes a fair point, but it doesn’t seem likely we’ll be making the switch anytime soon.

In the meantime, BC Ferries presented its Performance Term Six Submission to the BC Ferries Commissioner at the end of September, and you can give feedback on it before it’s approved.

It includes many needed service enhancements, including new vessels and service enhancements to increase capacity on some inter-island routes, including Denman – Hornby.

Read it over, and see if it’s enough to meet your needs.

To let the commissioner know what you think, visit the BC Ferry Commission to tell them what needs to change.