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General News · 13th August 2008
John Sprungman
From July 7 to September 15 next year, Cortes will have a four-lane ferry that will carry about six more vehicles per trip and will take overheight vehicles in all of its lanes. The MV Tachek, Hornby Island's winter vessel, will replace the MV Tenaka while it is being refitted.

Because its population swells with summer-only residents, Hornby gets a larger vessel in the busy season. For several years, Capt. Jay Holliday, the Cortes Senior Master, and I have been trying to get the Tachek for the summer on Cortes, but it has always been needed elsewhere.

At our May Ferry Advisory Committee meeting at Cape Mudge, BC Ferries announced that the Tenaka was scheduled to go to refit in May and June 2009 and 2011 and would be replaced by the Tachek which was scheduled for refit in the summer.

I immediately asked if the refit schedules could be switched so Cortes could have the larger ship at the busiest time of the year. Our Marine Superintendent Gordon Nettleton said he would look into it.

At the opening of the new Quathiaski Cove terminal building, I also talked with Mike Corrigan, BCF's Chief Operating Officer, and Mark Collins, V-P for Engineering, and they said they would see what they could do. Later that day, Mark took a roundtrip on the Cortes ferry and talked with Capt. Holliday as well. Wednesday I got an email from Mark saying they could make the switch.

A vessel like the Tachek is the only way to increase Cortes summer capacity without requiring more crew or extensive dock modifications. The ramp support structure will have to be raised somewhat at Whaletown and Heriot Bay because the Tachek rides higher out of the water, but how do to that has already been figured out.

The Tachek should help alleviate some of the summer overload issues going into town in the mornings and returning at the end of the day. It will also be a boon to those who are building on Cortes and have problems getting larger trucks onto the morning sailings from Heriot Bay and back to Quadra or Campbell River in the afternoon.
Bigger ferry not a solution
Comment by norberto on 25th August 2008
I am not sure that bringing a slightly bigger ferry (six more vehicles!) will help that much.

Transportation studies have shown that when additional transportation capacity is available, it is immediately filled.

Ithink the issue here is not the capacity of the ferry, but our use, and dependency, of our cars. We need to look for better mobility of people and goods and access to alternate options where we don’t need to take our cars, like walking, sharing rides, using the water-taxi and more.

We must learn to use our cars only as the last option. We may even save money by using alternate ways of mobility and will reduce our carbon footprint.

We also should look into alternatives to offer for summer visitors, so they don’t need to bring their vehicles.

In other words, the problem is not the bottleneck at the ferry, but the high volume of unnecessary cars trying to use the service.

Reducing this volume will reduce the bottleneck !


Bigger ferry
Comment by Carole on 22nd August 2008
Thank you, John! A larger ferry will help alot. It took us 5 1/2 hours to reach Campbell River last Monday and we didn't go at usually busy times.
I think the larger ferry will be a huge improvement.