Harbour ferry ready to take over Blue Boat service

A private ferry will launch 6 a.m. Tuesday from military property in Colwood as the Blue Boat service sails into the sunset.

A private commuter ferry will launch 6 a.m. sharp Tuesday morning from military property in Colwood as the Blue Boat service sails into the sunset.

The Baseline ferry service will shuttle civilian and military Department of National Defence staff across Esquimalt harbour during morning and evening rush hours.

The 40-foot, 40 passenger boat Grey Selkie is scheduled to carry its first batch of customers on May 1 at 6 a.m. from the Colwood D jetty to Dockyard, offering a service similar to the Blue Boats. Grey Selkie will also stop at Naden during the day, timed to employee shift changes.

Barry Hobbis, owner of Victoria Harbour Ferry, which operates the Baseline, said he is happy to provide a shuttle service at a price comparable to bus transit. A one-way ride is $2.50.

“That (cost) works for us and we think it will work for the riders,” Hobbis said. “We worked with a number of individuals who ride the boats to ensure it’s affordable and it does what they need it to do. We tried to be careful and stay as close as reasonable with transit costs.”

CFB Esquimalt decided to end the Blue Boat shuttle, first reported by the Victoria News in early March, due to the struggle to find staff for the auxiliary fleet of tugs and fire boats. In operation since 1955, Blue Boats originally shipped personnel and equipment around base property in the harbour, but evolved into a popular, and free, commuter service.

About 400 military and civilian staff from the West Shore and Sooke used the ferry daily, and faced the prospect of joining the jam-packed Island Highway and Trans-Canada Highway starting May 1. Nearly 750 DND personnel responded to a survey supporting a private ferry.

“It appears to be a desired service. Many people told us point blank that they need it,” Hobbis said.

In past months, Baseline ferry staff and its boat have been undergoing security and safety certification to work within DND property. A second boat is expected to enter operation mid May.

“We had to jump through a number of hoops to meet the requirements of Her Majesty the Queen,” Hobbis said. “There was rigorous attention to detail. The base commander, Canex staff and our staff worked through it as an affective team.”

In early April, Colwood entrepreneur Cynthia Cummings moved to launch a “Blue Bus” service to transport DND personnel from Colwood to Dockyard, but that effort was cancelled in the wake of the ferry service.

“I endorse the ferry service 100 per cent,” said Cummings, who is now working with Hobbis on managing Baseline. “It makes sense to offer a service people already know.”

Hobbis said this DND ferry service could lay the groundwork for a civilian ferry between Colwood and Victoria, although a lot of peices would need to fall in place. “(A civilian ferry) not out of the scope of where we might go,” he said.

See victoriaharbourferry.com/baseline for times and prices of the Baseline ferry service. The service is open to DND personnel only who are authorized to access CFB Esquimalt property in Colwood. From May 1 to 4 the service is free.

editor@goldstreamgazette.com

 

 

Just Posted

New Sooke councillors face old issues and new challenges

First meeting of new council sets the stage for the future

Viral video shows Sooke resident calling out illegal crab fishers

The video shows a man and woman with 12 undersized crabs in Sooke

NDP leader Jagmeet Singh and MP Alistair MacGregor weigh in on fishing ban

Singh and MacGregor say improving salmon abundance is important

Feds respond to sexual assault investigation at CFB Esquimalt

Report of Oct. 5 sexual assault on Vancouver Island base taken over by Canadian Forces National Investigation Service

Oak Bay artist celebrates 100 years

Centenarian matriarch credits active artistic lifestyle

People flocking to Vancouver Island city to see hundreds of sea lions

Each year the combination of Steller and California sea lions take over Cowichan Bay

Vancouver Island remembers

Important stories shared as Islanders salute those who made the greatest sacrifice

EU divorce deal in peril after two UK Cabinet ministers quit

Negotiators from Britain and the European Union have struck a proposed divorce deal that will be presented to politicians on both sides for approval, officials in London and Brussels said Tuesday.

Northern California fire death toll at 56; 130 missing

Many of the missing are elderly and from Magalia, a forested town of about 11,000 to the north of Paradise.

Canfor to buy 70 per cent stake in Swedish Vida Group for $580 million

The privately held company has nine sawmills in southern Sweden with an annual production capacity of 1.1 billion board feet.

Saudi prosecutor seeks death penalty in Khashoggi’s killing

Saudi Arabia’s top prosecutor is recommending the death penalty for five suspects charged with ordering and carrying out the killing of Saudi writer Jamal Khashoggi.

Mixing business and family: Trudeau turns to Singapore ancestors to widen trade

Trudeau’s ancestor, Esther Bernard, born Farquhar (1796-1838) was the daughter of Major-General William Farquhar (1774-1839), the first British Resident and Commandant of Singapore.

How a group of concerned students inspired Vancouver Island to #TrustYourself

Island Health social media initiative urging survivors of sexual assault to seek medical care

Baloney Meter: Will tougher penalties for gang members make Canada safer?

Since 2013, gang-related homicides in Canada’s largest cities have almost doubled

Most Read