Pacific Ferries, the most recent company to run passenger-only service between the Sunshine Coast and Vancouver, has suspended operations.
Pacific Ferries posted a public notice after the sudden cancellation of the Sept. 15 return trip from Vancouver that left several commuters stranded.
“As many of you have already heard if not witnessed it yourself, this evening our crew was not permitted to use the Coal Harbour Public Dock effective immediately,” the notice said. “We are no longer able to offer our service to our loyal guests and all the supporting commuters. We are meeting with the City of Vancouver Parks and Rec later on this month to find a solution… We apologize for this inconvenience and we understand the frustration that you all may have. We will be refunding all those who had paid for future passes.
The company has also said in updates on its Facebook page that it had to suspend the Gibsons-Horseshoe Bay runs as well because they cannot leave the boat in Horseshoe Bay and “it’s uneconomical to run one route.”
Vancouver Park Board deputy general manager Shauna Wilton said the dock in question is meant for recreational use.
“It came to our attention earlier in the summer that several operators were using the dock for commercial purposes,” she said. “We have indicated to [Pacific Ferries] that we will require an operating agreement with them before they resume operations. Our staff are willing and able to work with Pacific [Ferries] and other operators on licensed commercial operations subject to board approval.”
The issue came up briefly during the Sept. 19 meeting of the Gibsons Landing Harbour Authority. Harbour Authority members told Gibsons councillors that both the commuter service and tours the company was running had been well received over the summer.
During the regular council meeting that followed, Coun. Jeremy Valeriote said if Pacific Ferries doesn’t resume operations, the Town should “start again on our strategic goal of passenger ferry service… We’ll have to figure out how to work on that.”