Plans to upgrade the Chemainus ferry terminal have been scaled back after engineers took a closer look at the dock in preparation for carrying out the work.
“Upon further detailed inspection and survey of the marine structures at the Chemainus terminal, the scope of work previously planned has now been altered to be ‘life extension’ versus ‘replacement’,” says a communication from BC Ferries.
The changed scale of the work means that ‘at this point’ there are no plans to close the Chemainus ferry terminal in order to carry out the required work, although there might be some cancelled sailings.
Co-Chair of the Route 20 Advisory Committee Keith Rush explained that BCF engineers concluded the terminal is safe to operate without replacing the berth immediately.
“It’s a very medium term solution,” he said. BC Ferries may have to dust off plans for replacing the terminal’s berth in five or six years.
The postponement comes as a relief to many residents of Thetis and Penelakut islands. “We were starting to fret about it,” Rush – a Thetis Island resident – said.
Demolition and reconstruction of the berth was scheduled to begin in September or October of 2016, and would have required closure of the terminal for 10 weeks starting in January, 2017.
That would have meant diverting vehicle traffic to Crofton and using water taxis to transport passenger traffic from Chemainus.
The altered scope of the work means there is no longer any need to hold stakeholder meetings in the winter and spring of 2016. Work at the terminal is scheduled for January, 2017.
A casualty of the altered plans is an upgrade of the Chemainus terminal to be able to accommodate heavier vehicles. The upgrade would have allowed ‘highway legal’ eight axle vehicles of up to 63.5 tons.