The Speed Racers Of Denman Island

BC Ferries hasn't addressed local concerns

Tourists rushing from one ferry to another act like they are racing a Grand Prix

Anyone who’s taken a ferry from Denman Island to Hornby knows it’s a tight time crunch to make it from one sailing to the other.

If you’re also trying to beat out other travellers racing to grab one of the limited spots aboard the ferry to Hornby – good luck.

Tight departure windows and limited ferry capacity have led to intense competition for tourists, many of whom speed across the Island like they’re auditioning as formula one drivers.

This has led to potentially deadly repercussions for the Island’s locals.

The same road people are speeding on is used as a walking path by virtually every Denman resident, young and old.

While people mostly stick to the edges, kids and adults have had close calls with tourists whipping around corners.

“There’s so many stories of people having near misses and close to death or near-death experiences on the roadways,” Friends of Denman Forests member C Urquhart told My Comox Valley Now.

They’re just one of many groups that have written an open letter about the speeding issue to BC ferries, and they’re far from satisfied with the response they’ve gotten.

Urquhart said changes could be made to scheduling or limiting the number of people who can get on the Hornby ferry to match the numbers that can get on the Buckley Bay ferry.

However, after hearing public concerns, BC Ferries has mainly responded by saying they’ll put out reminders to travelling warning against speeding.

“In the coming weeks, you will begin to see messaging on our digital signs at the Buckley Bay and Hornby Island terminals,” they wrote in a public discussion forum.

Frustrated locals have found the lack of concrete changes problematic, but Urquhart did say changes may have to come from the government.

“It is because of certain ways that the ferry is set up that we do have people speeding, but it is more of a ministry issue in terms of what can be done, I think.”

Urquhart feels speed strips and other methods could be used to slow traffic.

But so far, the Ministry of Public Safety and Solicitor General has matched BC Ferries’s energy (or lack thereof).

“With the start of summer, there will be more children playing outside and more vehicles and cyclists on the roads,” said the Ministry.

“Government urges travellers to get out and explore our beautiful province while enjoying the ride and driving responsibly while respecting posted speed limits.”

The Government’s  approach to “addressing” this issue seems less about taking tangible measures to change it – and more about adding a little more white noise.