Summer 2011 Correspondence David Hill, P.Eng. ⇔ Mark Collins, P.Eng. Vice President, Engineering and Construction at BCFSI

Introductory material to David Hill’s correspondence with Mark Collins, Vice President, Engineering and Construction at BCFSI

Doug Sinkinson was, for many years, Chairperson of the Bowen Island Ferry Committee (currently designated as the Bowen Island Municipal Ferry Advisory Committee) until his untimely death in 2006. Doug was a strong supporter of the south side solution for ferry marshalling.

More than ten years ago, on February 19, at a 2001 meeting of Council, David Marshall, who was then Vice President, Engineering and Construction at the BC Ferries Corporation stated that BCF had given consideration to a south side terminal and had rejected it as an option based on safety considerations and cost ($25 million). He also noted that the amount of rock blasting and visual impact of such a facility would be very significant. He concluded that BCF was not willing to leave the door open for ally further discussions on the subject. Note that rock blasting and a rock-pile for a road bed would have been disastrous anyway; for starters, it would impinge too much on the entrance to the marina and has other problems. It would also be ugly and disruptive. The South SideIt needs to be handled with careful placement of a concrete road deck pinned to the ocean floor and the rock face until it comes onto shore as was done for the Sea-toSky highway recently.

On December 13th. 2004 Doug Sinkinson and David Hill met with Mark Collins, who had taken over as Vice President, Engineering and Construction of BC Ferries Corporation**, following a Municipal Council meeting at which ferry marshalling was discussed, and asked about the south side option. This meeting provides the starting of my recent letter (June 8th. 2011) to Mark Collins as the issue of Snug Cove revitalisation and ferry marshalling rose to the top of the island agenda again.

As Mark Collins had previously indicated his strong support for the idea to Doug and myself, I wrote to see if his view had changed.As can be seen from the ensuing correspondence it has not changed, and, despite the financial stringency which has now descended on BCFSI the financing is not a serious problem, since recovery through fare increases -- calculated to be far more modest than the recent increases of $3.81 for vehicles and $2.01 for foot passengers for which little benefit has been seen (as noted in the South Side Proposal document
** Currently B.C. Ferry Services Incoroporated (BCFSI)

The correspondence follows and individual elements may be accessed through the left-hand menu. Linked items will appear in new windows as appropriate.


David Hill to Mark Collins, Vice President Engineering and Construction, June 2011 to reconfirm BCFSI south side interest as a follow-up to the December 13th. 2004 meeting on Bowen

From: David Hill
To: Collins, Mark
Sent: Wed Jun 08 21:12:33 2011
Subject: Bowen Island Ferry Terminal

Dear Mark,

The issue of a better approach to the facilities for ferry operation on Bowen has become an official big issue again.

You will remember we last met following the Bowen Island Municipal Council Meeting on Monday December 13th. 2004. Doug Sinkinson and I walked away from the Municipal Hall with you and we talked about the ferry.You indicated that the proposal for a new ferry dock and marshaling area on the South side of Snug Cove would provide an ideal solution to the various problems associated with the ferry and ferry marshaling. You also indicated that if the council were on board, there would be no problem for BC Ferries to find the money to go ahead.

Obviously DFO, and GVRD would also have to be involved, but BC Ferries usually has to deal with DFO, so I presume this could be handled. The issue of intrusion into South Crippen Park would need to be addressed with GVRD. I would envisage an easement, lease or even possibly a gift of the land. A number of proposals have been put forward in the council planning that not only involve intruding on North Crippen Park, but are unsatisfactory in a variety of ways and rejected by a majority of the islanders, when polled on the question in connection with the National Park that has been mooted. None of the proposals includes a second ferry dock.

You will also remember the web site I set up to illustrate some of the ferry plans, which also included a comparison of the three most significant proposals for improved ferry marshaling. These included the South Side proposal that was drawn up in some detail, including costing, by Dai Roberts, P.Eng. and myself. The web site has remained up ever since but has not been updated recently. The following URL focuses on the South side, with two of the original competitors illustrated for comparison.

http://www.firethorne.com/ferrycure/south-notes.htm (New window)

Dai Roberts was the engineer responsible for installing the original gondola at Whistler. He completed the construction and installation in 6 months -- a mere 25% of the time estimated by the manufacturer of the gondola. Our original estimate for the construction of the South side dock & marshaling area was of the order of $10 million, adopting his approach to construction. A year of two later, I believe that BC Ferries had made an estimate of $25 million. Part of the large discrepancy is explained by rising prices, but a larger part is probably due to different assumptions made by the regular BC Ferries engineering consultant.

In my opinion, it is a given that once significant money were been invested in upgrading the North side facilities, it would be much more difficult to implement the far superior South Side solution. James Tuer, AIA MAIBC MBCSLA CSLA NCARB LEEDap has recently produced a conceptual view of four possible North side developments. They may be viewed at: <

http://www.snugcoveconcepts.ca (New window)

None of these plans is satisfactory for a variety of reasons (including the lack of provision for a second ferry dock). I attach a set of comments on the plans that I sent to James Tuer by request.

A key issue, in my strongly held opinion, is that Bowen needs a second ferry dock, regardless of the marshaling solution chosen, partly because dependence on one dock will cause problems if it is out of service for whatever reason for any length of time. The island depends on the ferry, economically and in other ways. However, the far more important reason is that the current dock would not cope well in an emergency. If there were an earthquake, it might not even be serviceable (and such an earthquake could also trigger a fire). In the case of a project fire on the island the existing facilities would simply lack the capacity for safe evacuation. The South side solution would allow a C-Class ferry to dock.

The "Capilano" can take 458 passengers. In the summer, the population of Bowen can be up to 6000 or more. That would take at least thirteen ferry trips, even if everything went smoothly, leading to something like thirteen hours minimum to evacuate the island -- too long for safety in a project fire in an extreme hazard condition. Also, those people would have to get to the Cove, mostly by car. There would be chaos with 1 or 2 thousand cars all wanting to get to the ferry before being abandoned, and perhaps some fighting for the few car spaces that might be available on the ferry.

The proposed South Side terminal would allow a C class ferry to dock and take 1,466 passengers per trip (with 362 cars if allowed), which could clear the island population (and a lot of cars that would otherwise form an obstruction) in just four trips which could even be overlapped for a lesser total time.

I suspect that the time is right to make proper provision for the future safety and prosperity of the island by implementing appropriate ferry docking and marshaling facilities for the long term, including a second dock.

Many thanks for you ongoing interest.

Warm regards & all good wishes.

david
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David Hill, P.Eng.
Emeritus Professor,
U. Calgary,
Calgary, AB T2N 1N4 Canada
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Our lives begin to end the day we become silent about things that matter. (Martin Luther King Jr.)
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[A copy of drh comments concerning James Tuer's plans was attached: see Menu item "David Hill’s Critique of James Tuer's plans"]

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Mark Collins initial reply

From: Mark Collins
Subject: Re: Bowen Island Ferry Terminal
Date: June 8, 2011 9:27:54 PM PDT
To: David Hill
Cc: David Carroll

David

Very nice to hear from you again. I understand this is a big issue for the community; one that has never really been solved for the long term.

You have sent along a lot of information. I will take a good look at it all over the next couple of days and talk things over with David Carroll, our Director of Terminal Construction, whom I believe you know. We'll get back to you with our thoughts asap.

Kind regards

Mark

Mark Collins
VP Engineering
BC Ferries


Mark Collins full reply confirming BC Ferries regards south side has “important operational advantages” and construction costs need not be an issue

From: Mark Collins
Subject: RE: Bowen Island Ferry Terminal
Date: June 10, 2011 12:41:30 PM PDT
To: David Hill
Cc: David Carroll

Hello David,

Thanks again for your e mail. David Carroll has brought me up to speed on the issues as we understand them. Let me start by congratulating the Bowen Island Municipality on all the work, thought and planning they are putting into this issue. It is a very comprehensive and professional body of work that should lead you to a good solution. I would also like to provide clarification on several points dating back, in some cases, to 2004.

First, regarding the ferry MV Island Sky. The ship is now in service on the Saltry Bay - Earls Cove run. The vessel is a multi-route capable vessel and incorporates particular features to adapt it for efficient operation at Snug Cove. For example, during the design spiral the was constrained to 100m length overall to allow it to fit in the existing Snug Cove berth alignment. It is fitted to allow foot passengers to board the ship without using the main vehicle ramp. It is also fitted with 4 independent propulsion units to allow it to to safely manoeuvre in Snug Cove in conditions up to 50 knots sustained wind speed. I mention all this so you understand the ship is not limited in its ability to serve the existing berth at Snug Cove.

We also wish to clarify the reason the Island Sky is not deployed on the Bowen Island run is that the road network adjoining our terminal is simply not capable of delivering or absorbing the vessel's 120 car capacity within the scheduled turn-around time. You may recall we made that clear to the BIM council at an open meeting in which we advised the ship would be elsewhere deployed if the shore side road network was not upgraded. Again, I mention this only to emphasize the road network adjoining the terminal is a critical factor in our ship deployment decisions.

The second point to address is terminal construction costs and funding. My comments of today are the same as 2004 in that the cost of constructing a terminal is not an issue provided BCF Ferries is able to recoup the full full cost in the usual way, which is from route group operations (ie. ferry fares). Generally, all ship and terminal improvements by BCF are ultimately funded by earnings from operations. Put another way, BCF has no difficulty raising capital to build major infrastructure works provided BCF is earning returns from route group operations that enables us to pay off the capital borrowings. That is a critical thing to remember about how we invest in major infrastructure.

There are also various levels of planning and approvals we go though internally and externally, such as our Board of Directors and the BC Ferry Commissioner. These processes have to be satisfied before an investment can take place.

There are occasional exceptions to this, such as when the provincial or federal governments may choose to directly build ferry infrastructure themselves. In such a case BCF provides design guidance only and all funding issues are left to government. Upon completion of the terminal BCF may or may not be given a lease and we may or may not have responsibility for terminal operation and maintenance.

Regarding the total cost of the south side option, everything we have seen in terminal construction costs since 2004 confirms our belief that it is at least a $25m project. We recently provided design guidance on a greenfield terminal project near Klemtu similar to what the south side option would require; that project was approximately $20m to construct. (In that case the provincial government built the terminal, so we don't have full cost figures). This and other projects certainly lead us to believe the south side option is in the $25m range.

BCF does believe the south side option would have some important operational advantages over the existing Snug Cover berth. The approach would be simpler and more direct for the vessel. The holding compound would be purpose constructed and therefore be more efficient and more easily managed than the existing Government Road arrangement. Pick up and drop off areas could be purpose designed for efficiency and safety. And the vessel would have greater separation from other marine traffic in the cove, improving marine safety.

There is one other impact to the south side option the community may wish to consider. Moving the traffic to the south side will lessen the access businesses along government road have to waiting ferry travellers. The improvement from reduced traffic, noise and fumes on Government Road will have to be balanced against the vibrancy that the waiting passengers bring to the area. There are various ways to bring the south side passengers to the village, and these would have to be assessed for cost and viability.

David, these are some our thoughts with respect to the south side option. David Carroll is very knowledgeable about many of the issues facing BIM in this decision process and is available to assist the debate in any capacity the community deems appropriate. Of course you may feel free to give me a call at any time you wish.

Best regards,

Mark


David Hill’s response to the full reply

From: David Hill
To: Collins, Mark
Cc: Carroll, David
Sent: Fri Jun 10 13:16:19 2011
Subject: Re: Bowen Island Ferry Terminal

Dear Mark,

Many thanks indeed for your succinct and informative response to my recent email.

The one comment I can make (in addition to the one I already made about the island fire safety issue) is that merchants in the Cove would actually benefit from having the Cove returned to normal use. At present, many residents simply don't go to the Cove for shopping and recreation precisely because of the congestion and lack of parking caused by the ferry marshalling. The distance from the South side marshalling and parking from the cove merchants is entirely comparable to the distance from the cars lining uptowards and on the school hill, or down near the ferry dock. Only cars marshalling close to places like the Snug would be better off in the Cove than on the South side, which really means a handful of cars. If people had time to duck out of the line for a coffee, they would, on average, likely be better off on the South side, on average. Some would need a little extra walk, some less, but I haven't done a formal operational study (yet! :-). Then there would also be obvious parking for visitors to leave their cars whilst going to the Cove to shop or eat. At present they pretty well get directed right out of the village.

May I share yours and David Carroll's thoughts on this issue with others?

Warm regards and, again, many thanks.

david


Permission to share correspondence

From: Mark Collins
Subject: Re: Bowen Island Ferry Terminal
Date: June 10, 2011 2:23:30 PM PDT
To: David Hill
Cc: David Carroll

David

Yes, feel free to share as you think best.

Hope it helps

Regards

Mark

Mark Collins
VP Engineering
BC Ferries


David Hill’s query on the capital budget origin

From: David Hill
To: Collins, Mark
Sent: Sun Jun 12 18:52:26 2011
Subject: BCFSI year end results

Hi Mark,

I was intrigued to read the BCFSI year end results for fiscal 2011. It included:

"Capital expenditures in the three and twelve months ended March 31, 2011 totalled $39.5 million and $128.7 million, respectively. For fiscal 2011, these investments include: $45.4 million in vessel upgrades and modifications; $41.6 million in terminal marine structures; $24.5 million in terminal and building upgrades and equipment; and $17.2 million in information technology. In addition, the Company entered into agreements which constitute a capital lease for space in a new corporate office building."

How are these expenditures paid for? Obviously I am curious because it bears on Bowen's needs.

Many thanks & all good wishes.

david


Mark Collins’ budget query reply

From: Mark Collins
Subject: Re: BCFSI year end results
Date: June 12, 2011 7:28:01 PM PDT
To: David Hill, Darin Guenette

Hello David,

As I am the engineering guy and not the finance guy, I would like to refer you Mr. Darin Guenette, our Director of Community Relations (in copy), for a complete answer to your question.

A short version is: all those investments listed in our annul report are part of our rolling 5 year capital plan which is approved by the Ferry Commissioner and our Board, and which are all funded from earnings from route operations (fares). Any investment at Bowen would have to be funded in a similar, if BCF were to undertake it.

Darin can provide more detailed info if you require.

Kind regards

Mark.

Mark Collins
VP Engineering
BC Ferries


From: David Hill
Sent: June 12, 2011 9:05 PM
To: Collins, Mark
Cc: Guenette, Darin
Subject: Re: BCFSI year end results

Hi Mark,

Many thanks for the referral. I look forward to hearing from Darin (and obviously would be more than happy to answer any questions he may have). The bottom line is, what effect would an investment on Bowen have on ferry fares (as this could affect public reaction to the project, which may have political consequences for the council).

All good wishes.

david
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David Hill, P.Eng.


Darin Guerin’s reply to budget query

From: Darin Guenette
Subject: RE: BCFSI year end results
Date: June 17, 2011 2:06:24 PM PDT
To: David Hill
Cc: Mark Collins

Hello David,

I am just back in the office and catching up to emails.

I have read both of your queries (below and the costs associated with South Side changes). Can I suggest you share your two queries (if you have not already done so) with the Ferry Advisory Committee on Bowen Island? Through experience, they may have insight into some of those answers already. If not, at the very least, these look like they could be summarized and brought forth as good agenda items at the next FAC meeting between the committee and BC Ferries. This meeting will happen sometime in mid to late October.

The current Chair of the B.I. committee is Kim de Sante (desante@shaw.ca).

I hope this is a good start to helping address these questions. I will be out of office after today, just until June 23.

Regards,

Darin Guenette
Manager, Public Affairs
BC Ferry Services Inc.
Suite 500-1321 Blanshard Street
Victoria, BC V8W 0B7
Tel: 1-877 978-2385 (toll free) or 250-978-2385
Fax: 250-978-1119
www.bcferries.com

Notice:
This message, including any attachments, is confidential and may contain information that is privileged or exempt from disclosure. It is intended only for the person to whom it is addressed unless expressly authorized otherwise by the sender. If you are not an authorized recipient, please notify the sender immediately and permanently destroy all copies of this message and any attachments.


David Hill to Mark Collins re: effect of financial constraints

From: David Hill [mailto:drh@firethorne.com]
Sent: August 24, 2011 9:09 PM
To: Collins, Mark
Subject: Bowen south side option

Dear Mark,

As I work on bringing the south side option for Bowen to the fore, I receive the BC Ferries latest quarterly report. Does this cause a loss of interest in capital works on Bowen? It could be an unfortunate lost window of opportunity, if so.

I'd appreciate your input on the question.

Many thanks.

david
--------
David Hill, P.Eng.
Emeritus Professor,
CS Dept, U. Calgary,
Calgary, AB T2N 1N4 Canada
---------
Our lives begin to end the day we become silent about things that matter.
(Martin Luther King Jr.)
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Mark Collins reply to query on changed capital situation

From: Mark Collins
Subject: RE: Bowen south side option
Date: August 25, 2011 7:50:20 AM PDT
To: David Hill
Cc: Darin Guenette

Good Morning David,

I think it's fair to say we are facing a tightening climate for our capital programs. Each and every project will have to stand on its merits compared to all other priorities demanding capital expenditure. Those projects with the greatest need and/or greatest return on investment will naturally get the priority. A project which generates (or is supported by) revenue increases to cover the long term cost of an investment would be viewed more favourably than an investment not so supported.

To put it in local terms, our CFO has said a community which agrees to fare increases sufficent to cover the long term cost of an investment is much more likely to see the investment proceed.

Hope this helps,

Regards,

Mark

Mark F. Collins
VP Engineering
BC Ferries


David Hill’s response to Mark Collins on capital constraints reply

From: David Hill Subject: Re: Bowen south side option
Date: August 25, 2011 8:38:35 AM PDT
To: Mark Collins

Dear Mark,

Many thanks for the fast response. I think we can work with that.

Warm regards.

david
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David Hill’s further query to Mark Collins on increasing capital constraints on BC Ferries

From David Hill [mailto:drh@firethorne.com]
Sent: May 19, 2012 7:08 PM
To: Collins, Mark
Subject: Bowen Ferry Marshalling

Dear Mark,

Two things.

First, I attach a copy of the information sheet I bulk-mailed to everyone on Bowen yesterday (Friday 18th. May).

Second, my contacts tell me there was a meeting with the Bowen Ferry Committee and BC Ferries executives at which it was stated that the construction costs for the south side option probably rule it out of consideration. Is this definitive? It seems like an important and never to be repeated lost opportunity, both for BC Ferries (especially for BC Ferries), and for Bowen, if so. This runs counter to what you told me in your previous emails. Is this a result of the government giving new powers to the Ferry Commissioner?

My research on the island tells me there is significant support for the south side option, despite all the negativity and suppression over the last decade. As the facts become known, this support is only likely to increase.

Warm regards.

david

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David Hill, PEng, FBCS
P.O. Box 129,
Bowen Island BC V0N 1G0
Telephone: 604-947-9362
Twitter: @t33guy

Simplicity, patience, compassion. These three are your greatest treasures (Tao Te Ching #67)

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Mark Collins’ response to David Hill’s query on increasing capital constraints

From: Mark Collins
Subject: RE: Bowen Ferry Marshalling
Date: June 14, 2012 5:24:24 PM PDT
To: David Hill
Cc: Corrine Storey, Darin Guenette, Rob Clarke

David,

Thanks for the attachment. My apologies for my slowness in replying to you.

I wasn’t present at the meeting but I understand there was a brief reference to the south side option. Our attendees don’t recall the specific comment about cost but we don’t believe that a BCF person said the south side was ruled out on cost.

My earlier comments to you remain accurate and consistent; that is, the full cost of any new terminal for Bowen Island would have to be recovered from Bowen Island. This could be done by the Municipality providing financial support through taxes, or from the ferry users through increased fares. If increased fares are the desired option, Commissioner approval would be required. The point is that it is unreasonable to expect ferry users on other routes to share in the cost. So if the community were to support the south side option and agree to full cost recovery, BCF would then be in a position to consider designing and building it.

David, the keys issues have always been community support and agreement for full cost recovery. If these are in place I am sure BCF would be happy to discuss the south side.

Kind regards,

Mark

Mark F. Collins
VP Engineering
BC Ferries


David Hill’s critique of James Tuer’s “grand plans” June 17 2011

Scheme A: Places double-lane ferry marshalling next to the sidewalk. This has already been tried and proved extremely dangerous—especially during ferry loading. It also converts the entrance to the Island into a ferry marshalling yard and messes up the traffic headed down to Snug Point, the Dallas marina and most shops and other facilities in the Cove. Moreover, it annexes our most important park and turns part of it into a parking lot (the amount shown is not a lot more than what is currently available, so there’s a discrepancy). It is not clear what “alternating lanes” for ferry marshalling implies, but alternating lanes are the stuff of lower mainland commutes, not village life, and would likely also prove either confusing/dangerous, or expensive (lights etc.), or both. In one diagram (number 11), marshalling seems to have disappeared. How does the USSM feel about the implications of using their car park, which is already often full? What access is provided for things like ambulances, garbage trucks and delivery trucks? There is not a lot of point in having a multi-purpose lane (cycles, scooters ...) in the Cove when the rest of the island is a free-for-all, mixing them all up, and it does not seem particularly safe anyway. The bike lanes in Vancouver have received a lot of valid criticism for the various problems they have caused, and for the relatively little use they get. And who will pay for the “redevelopment” that is included in the lovely sketches? Scheme A is a no-no.

Scheme B: I am surprised this scheme is even floated as a way of improving Snug Cove. It destroys it. My impression, from its sketchy presentation, is that others would agree with this assessment. Scheme B is a no-no

Scheme C: This scheme removes much of the ferry traffic from the view of the ferry captain, which is not a good idea. It also almost certainly requires personnel to manage the marshalling and unloading, which would be an ongoing daily cost. If it is assumed that lights can manage the process, then there is a problem when the power fails (as is a fairly regular occurrence on Bowen), and that is even assuming that lights could manage desperate people wanting to get on the ferry in an emergency. The break between the block of lanes in the park and the lanes at the bottom of government road is likely to provide confusion. There is really no room for expansion without cutting further into the North Park and complicating access to Snug Point and the causeway. Additionally, run-off water management could prove tricky and expensive. It is noticeable that redevelopment around “Four Corners” is implied but without comment. Who pays for the process of turning the pretty pictures into reality? The scheme also requires a road through the North Park [this idea was soundly rejected in a BowenBEAT poll later in the year]. Scheme C is perhaps the least awful of the above-ground ideas presented, but still a definite no-no.

Scheme D: I think “woonerf” is a bit of an “in” word, and could be better replaced by “pedestrian friendly”, whose meaning is clear to ordinary people. What does the Union Steamship Marina think of giving up their parking area? That would seem to be a big hurdle, as noted. Who would pay for this scheme—construction and operating (marshalling)? Who would occupy the (presumably expensive) accommodation built on the parking structure and who would build it? The area is actually fill, once dredged out of the marina area under a federal grant. Is it even suitable for building? It would likely liquefy during an earthquake. How would the underground marshalling be organised so traffic flowed in and out freely and without conflict. What provision for later expansion exists? How could the ferry captain keep track of the ferry traffic? Given the separation of overheight and regular traffic, plus the way the traffic is “stored“, marshalling personnel would certainly be needed. (BC Ferries staff do not operate off BC Ferries land). Is there, in fact, enough overheight room. I quite like this scheme, but I suspect it is a non-starter for these reasons. It would take years to evolve into a working system (we’ve already been waiting 30 years or more), it cannot handle expansion, and the land is unsuitable. It is thus also a no-no.


David Hill's letter following James Tuer’s presentation

Hi James,

I thought you did a very good presentation yesterday evening but I have to admit, it didn’t change my emailed views of the A, B, C and D options presented. As you admitted, the problems I raised are valid. The “inside-out” village proposal is a good one—it was first suggested to me by Dai Roberts six years ago. I don’t know whether he originated it or not. Perhaps you or someone else came up with the idea, but I thought it was Dai.

I was glad of the chance for a brief chat after the presentation. I can see that you are operating under some fairly arbitrary constraints which probably means that ferry marshalling in the Cove will remain as it is for the foreseeable future, since the official alternatives are all worse. That may not be a bad outcome if the council is determined to nix the south side option, as appears to be the case.

Option C, the Cardena Road marshalling area idea, has some problems in coping with heavy vehicles in the mix, I think, both for entry and exit. Also, it almost certainly requires staff to manage the loading (four people, two per shift, plus spares to cope with sickness etc.) so it would create an ongoing operating expense of the order of $200,000 a year, no matter who provides the staff. Then there’s the problem of water collection from an area where all kinds of vehicles stand for extended periods. I don’t think a biological drain would cut it. If the whole area were gravelled, rather than paved, it might provide a big enough area to purify the run-off before it went anywhere important, but then you have the problem of maintaining it. Also, the ferry captain can’t see what is going on, and there’s a problem at the turn and intersection with Government Road, especially for semi-trailers and large trucks, and even more so if the trucks have trailers (as they often do for road building and the like).

Option C also impinges on access to the lagoon, causeway, and Snug Point. I wonder how the residents would take to that. In Snug Cove, at least the traffic only really affects businesses, rather than residences (although that is bad enough, and a drag on their profitability). I think to say there are 358 parking stalls in the village and they are only 50% occupied, is hiding the real issue. The real issue is that people need convenience. The hill is quite steep for people access to lots up the hill, even if the distance is relatively short, and much of the parking in the Lower Cove seems to be taken up by long term parkers, such as commuters, except for that which is likely to be blocked by the ferry line-up. People simply put off their shopping and other activities till they make a trip to the mainlan—a loss to island merchants. Many people are on the island because they can’t afford to live on the mainland, and they are pushed even here. The reason the pay lot next to the village store is often largely empty is because that is just one more expense.

When my consulting work took me to town, by the way, I could not leave my car on Bowen and use public transport (I tried, but there was not way to meet my scheduled meetings and site inspections in different places in town, plus carrying confidential documents that needed to be in a locked trunk). A reliable vehicle ferry service is essential for this and other reasons. Time is a valuable resource.

As you noted, Option D is probably too expensive to contemplate, unless some deal can be reached to give BC Ferries the land and let them develop it. Also it too would require marshalling staff, plus management staff for the buildings and regular parking. It is an attractive idea, as I mentioned before, but I doubt it can fly. It is also worth noting that the car park is built on the debris dredged out of the marina and is probably not suitable for placing a structure and buildings of the kind envisaged in plan D.

Options A and B are, IMHO, putting lipstick on a pig! :-)

I realise there are other combinations of elements but, just as some will find some bits they like (the optimists whose glass is half full) others will find things they can’t accept (the pessimists whose glass is half empty)! Good luck trying to get consensus on Bowen. I expect, in the end, the council will impose a solution, having gone through the motions of “public consultation”.

When Dai first came up with the idea of a south side option, my reaction was very much as you describe—an objection to spoiling the “beautiful green south side”. Once I got involved and looked at it, I realised this was a false perception, especially when I took a look that was actually at ground level in that location. The dock, deck and road disappearing into the trees are very small compared to the well-treed steep hillside that would remain. They’ve put a one kilometer board walk round Cape Roger Curtis so people can enjoy the view, but no-one supposes they have spoiled that view.

As I mentioned, the cheap solution of simply piling up rocks and building the roadway on top for the south side completely negates the attraction of the scheme, and would indeed require cutting into the bluff, if it could be done at all (how do you persuade the material to stay put on a steep slope without filling up the channel needed for boat passage). A horrible way of doing it. The Sea-to-Sky highway was engineered with cantilevered deck sections pinned into the rock, which is how the south side should be done, with the advantage that piers could also be pinned to the bedrock below, making the engineering and geophysical problems much simpler. That way the south side solution would leave the bluff unchanged. The roadway would be viewed mostly edge-on, and would be relatively unobtrusive (especially as there are all kinds of masts and buildings in the way from most viewpoints). The deck could incorporate a pedestrian “boardwalk”, and the south park and trails up Dorman Point rejuvenated, which would enhance the evening walk you like to take, whilst all kinds of marine life would find enhanced habitat under the new deck.

I am sorry that the council forbade you to include the south side in your presentation. Do you think they may basically be committed to making the ferry less and less satisfactory—partly because of their (unattainable) goal of an 80% reduction in GHG by 2050 (as noted in your presentation), and partly because they seem ideologically committed to seeing everyone riding bicycles or walking. If so, such solutions are simply unrealistic, and spell a very dim future for the island, especially the old and disabled.

In the mean time we see Albertans (for example) enjoying no provincial sales tax because they mine dirty oil up in Athabasca. One week’s GHG output from the tar sands likely negates 40 years of any saving that Bowen might achieve by strangling the island. If we are serious about reducing GHGs, we should be looking at doing something about the Athabasca tar sands (which pollute in Canada and then ship the product south); and Chinese soft coal power plants, being built at the rate of one a week; and think of erecting wind generators on the island. Electric cars simply add to the amount of carbon that is produced somewhere else unless we use local renewable energy such as wind to charge them.

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Very sincerely,

david


Page created 2012-01-07

Last modified: Fri Nov 2 20:14:11 PDT 2012