Transcript of David Hill's presentation to Bowen Council
on the south side ferry marshalling proposal

The audio track of the presentation can be accessed here
The council video can be accessed here. The presentation starts approximately 19 minutes in; and ends approximately 44 minutes in.

Minor edits and garbles are enclosed in square brackets “[ ... ]”.

Kathy Lalonde, CAO: Now we have a delegation, we have David Hill regarding his proposal for ferry marshalling.

David Hill: Worshipful Mayor, Members of Council, Ladies and Gentlemen. Thank you to the Council for inviting me to give this presentation. I've given myself fifteen minutes so it's going to be fairly tight. I'd rather not take questions. If there are any, perhaps we can deal with them at the end.

I think you all know me.

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The context. I'm going to divide the talk into six sections, really—they're all pretty easy. First of all there's the Context and why the ferry marshalling should move to the south side. Then there are the Goals towards which ferry marshalling should be [directed]. Then I shall give an Overview of the south side, followed by Elements—these are the bits and pieces which fit into this overview, and then I look at the Financing briefly and finally the Advantages.

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So, as far as the context is concerned, Bowen Island population is increasing, overloads are increasing and the number of dwellings on the island is increasing—all this despite the recession.

I did a survey in September which produced results showing that 55% of the ferry users—I handed out flyers in the ferry line-up—55% of the people that responded to the survey preferred the south side.

Now we have an environment. It's composed of: the natural environment, which we want to preserve; the social environment; and the economic environment; and all these are tied up with the economic viability of the island, that is, the income. Now commuters have income, retirees have income and this actually funds the island. Municipal income derives from property and property taxes; and then there are businesses, which also require a viable income; and ferries affect all of these, as well as access to medical services on the mainland, house values, and things like that.

If the [ferry] dock were out of service for any time, it would be a serious problem. If there were an emergency, we'd need a fully functioning, effective dock.

Okay, so SnugCove, a place to shop and enjoy, with a pedestrian orientation. But how can we have a pedestrian orientation if the Cove is also a ferry marshalling yard. I just don't see that.

We need support for everybody, not just commuters—everybody needs access to [the world]—it's people coming from the mainland to the island as well, it's not just people going from the island to the mainland. People need access to legal services, medical services, flights and all sorts of vital things like that.

People waste an enormous amount of time [in the line-up]. I did a rough calculation last year and figured that at minimum wage for people who waste their time that's over a million dollars a year, and busses are no panacea because, if they are anything like me, there are a significant number of people who go to the mainland who have to go to different places. There's no way they can meet their clients, and keep to a schedule, quite apart from the fact that they might well have, as I had, valuable equipment, computers, and confidential documents. You can't put these of the luggage rack of a bus and then get pushed down the bus because the bus is overcrowded. So, although busses should be used, they are by no means a panacea.

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These are the goals of the south side. We want Snug Cove Revitalisation, we want to Improve Ferry Marshalling, Enhance Tourism *and* Invigorate the Local Businesses.

Now the Economic Development Advisory Committee, this year, called for: (1) unobstructed off-loading, for the ferry—we don't have that at the moment; and (2) to remove the ferry marshalling off Government Road—that's in this document which I got from the committee.

The latest proposal, I'm afraid, falls short, and I'd like to know what the real time line is for that even though it costs five and a half million.

We need to make the Cove an attractive destination: bring in tourists, to attract islanders, and to strengthen businesses.

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This is an overview, an aerial view, of Snug Cove, with the outline of the south side ferry marshalling proposal down at the bottom here. You'll notice there's a ferry dock. There's a two lane with footpath access to the turning area and the exit lanes go all the way down to Dorman Road where there's a roundabout which, incidentally, is a standard roundabout, not a six hundred and fifty thousand dollar one. You'll notice that the Captain has great visibility for the whole of this ferry marshalling line-up, and that's an important consideration. The north dock—I've put two outlines of the [old] north dock on the turning area so you can see that it's actually quite a generous space for dealing with people who want to go down and come back. And, incidentally, if they get blocked because of off-loading traffic, they're not going to be blocking village traffic as happens with all the village schemes so far.

The land [required] is about 25 acres, down here, 8.7 hectares, and that can be obtained by land swaps. You'll notice it's right at the south end of the park, rather than in the middle of the park, so it has pretty minimal influence on the park, and, if you look at it, its old cottage foundations, there used to be a road down here, there was a boat launch, and then there's a very steep rise up to Dorman Road.

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Distances: This is a fifty yard circle around "The Snug", in the middle of the lower Cove there. The circles are 100 yards, 200 yards, 300 yards, 400 yards and you see that most of this area is actually within about 350 yards, or 290 metres, of the upper and lower Cove. So it's quite close. It's comparable, in fact, to the existing distances. It's a full kilometer from the top down to the ferry dock and, obviously, several hundred yards even down to Cates Corner from up here. It's also comparable to the distances that you encounter down to Horseshoe Bay. In addition, there's no school hill to cope with, which is quite a thought, if you've tried to go up there.

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This shows this shows one of the elements. This is the "bulge" in the diagram of the overview, and you can see that it allows two ferry off-loading lanes which are 11 feet wide, which is plenty wide enough for that, unobstructed. There's a service road which means people who want to park can pull off the main [exit lanes] and park, and, if they're getting out of the parking, they can pull out of the parking without blocking the ferry off-loading traffic.

There are two marshalling lanes, ten feet wide, which is wider than BC Ferries allows, and the access lane is also ten feet, with an optional parallel parking lane down here, as well, and then three footpaths, one of which provides some separation between the access [lane] and the marshalling [lanes] and then, to separate off the exit lanes, there are two barriers, which provide safety for both the parking and the marshalling.

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This is the west end, up by the roundabout, at the end with Dorman Road, and you'll see that the whole thing is down to just three lanes out, so that's two exit lanes, an access lane and two sidewalks, and the access lane divides into two marshalling lanes, and then the access lane all the way to the turnaround area.

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This is a marine chart, showing the same aerial view. This part would be a concrete deck, supported on piers pinned into the bedrock, and with a dock, and the dock and dolphins should be strong enough to be (a) seismically resistant; and (b) take a "C" Class ferry. Now you say we don't want a "C" Class ferry, and that's fair enough, but if we had an emergency where we had to evacuate the island in a hurry, a "C" Class ferry, even though it couldn't load on both decks for cars, it could get 1,600 passengers, and it could get the people off the island in about four hours instead of the fifteen er ... thirteen or more hours that would be required for a smaller ferry coming into the existing dock.

You'll notice that the deck, in fact, is contoured to fit the—including the turnaround area—to fit the shoreline so that there's minimum disruption of the shoreline. We don't want blasting and that kind of thing. Most importantly, we don't want a rock pile in here. We have to maintain 60 feet of clearance between the end of the government dock and the deck to allow things like float planes and dredgers into the marina.

If there was a land swap to get this land and all the other hurdles could be overcome, the Muni would then own the land and could either lease it or sell it to BCFerries and that would provide either capital or income for the lease, and you might even get a tax base though, having seen what happened in Horseshoe Bay recently, that might be a little pie in the sky.

It's a user-pay system like the ... oh, that's just ... I'm getting ahead of myself here. Sorry.

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Now this is an aerial view taken from above the north side somewhere, looking towards the south side. You see, here's the dock, and here's the relatively thin ribbon of deck going along over the foreshore into the trees, and then the rest of it's on the land, and hidden on the other side of the Bowfest grounds.

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Oh, I've not put any sailboats in that last picture, so I took a picture of the sailboats—the deck would be going along here, you can see that it's largely hidden by the forest of masts.

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The Financing—I've already said a little about that—but BC Ferries have said they would consider designing, building and financing the south side if Bowen asks, and agrees to cost recovery. These are the extracts from the three letters over a period of two years, recently. It was originally said in 2004 and most recently confirmed on June 14th 2012, but I've since heard from Mark Wilson, the new V-P Engineering, who says that no reason that that should've changed.

It's a user-pay system, like the Port Mann bridge, and, interestingly, the investment, per trip per day, is actually less—if it's $25 million, it's actually less than the investment per trip, per day, for the Port Mann bridge, and also the tolls would be less. It would also save similar time for people on Bowen.

Bowen happens to be among the privileged few ferry routes which has over 50% average usage, and you can see the figures on the Queen of Capilano notice board. There are only a handful of routes like this, so we do have some leverage.

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The Advantages: there are a whole lot. I've sort of just put a few here just to get started—incidentally, that was a prairie merlin that was sitting putside our bird feeder recently.

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This is the view you get when you first arrive on Bowen Island, at present. It's not going to change much with any scheme that goes on the north side of the cove ... er, Snug Cove.

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This is the view that you would see, arriving at the south side, which I think is a rather nicer view.

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Anyway, whatever the outcome, we don't really want something like this [laughter]

Thank you very much.

We might just about have time for questions, if any of the council members want to ... otherwise I'll ...

DRH: Yes, Alison.

Councillor Morse: How many people replied to your survey?

DRH: A total of a hundred and twenty one out of three hundred and eighty five flyers delivered—that's a good response rate for such surveys. It means you're within ± 9% 19 times out of twenty. In fact the survey's on my web site along with all ... a lot more detail, if you go to that website address there [speaker indicates "" on a white board] you'll find there's a lot of documentation on this.

Mayor Adelar: David, when the traffic comes out, from the ferry, where's it go?

DRH: When it arrives on Dorman Road it goes right or left.

Mayor Adelar: The majority will go right, because ...

DRH: The majority will go right, yes.

Mayor Adelar: How do you deal with the traffic, in the central part, er Government Road corridor ... ?

DRH: Well, Dorman Road actually has a larger road allowance than Government Road, if you look at the plans. Wolfgang's small group put out a flyer recently that actually showed that. So if you want you can put a roundabout at the Government Road/Dorman Road intersection. It may just require some left turning lanes and straight on lanes, and put the stop signs on the Government Road instead of Miller Road/Dorman Road. It's not ... I mean, traffic negotiates that junction at present with very similar arrangements and no roundabout.

Mayor Adelar: What about the Dorman Point park ... the ... system, do you think Metro Vancouver is prepared to give a slice up?

DRH: Is who prepared to give it up?

Mayor Adelar: Pardon me ... er, Metro Vancouver.

DRH: Well, that's between BC Ferries, the municipality and Metro Vancouver. Originally ... when Crippen Park was originally formed, they said that the land east and south of Miller Road, in other words, that sort of "village area" should be available for municipal purposes, but that lease ... or that agreement expired after ten years—I think that should be resurrected ... and obviously its less intrusive to have the edge of the park devoted to marshalling than to take a chunk out of the middle of the park up on the north side.

Mayor Adelar: Why, what's the difference?

DRH: The difference is that you're splitting the park if you ... for instance ... suppose you have a loop road, you're splitting the park. If you put it on the south side, you're not really splitting the park because it's right on the south edge.

Mayor Adelar: The traffic is going to be pretty crazy on Dorman Road.

DRH: No, it's not going to be any crazier than the traffic on Government Road. You can actually make it wider than Government Road, if you want to. It does not look like a problem. You know, this is where the detailed design comes in, and where people with experience, like BC Ferries, can get in there and do it—they say they'll do it, if we just ask. I mean, you don't have to say: “Go ahead with it”, you just have to say: “OK, This is a plan, we're interested. How about it?”

Mayor Adelar: How long do you think it would take?

DRH: Well, they built a similar place up at Klemtu—apparently it's very similar to what we'd need—it cost them $25 million, was built in two years and finished last year.

Mayor Adelar: Klemtu have a National Park, or a Vancou ... a Metro Vancouver style park, to deal with the ... water issues ... private moorage issues ...all of those issues ... did they have that up at Klemtu?

DRH: I'm not sure what exactly the ... the gist, ... the focus of that questions is because, as far as I know, there is no private moorage on the south side.

Mayor Adelar: The north side then

DRH: Well, obviously Klemtu is up in the boondocks. And incidentally, the population of Klemtu—they live on Swindle Island, funnily enough, that's where the ferry marshalling thing is—the population is about four hundred and fifty people.

Mayor Adelar: Sounds like the bridge up in Alaska

DRH: I think they got special privileges. It was paid for half by the provincial government and half by the federal government, out of infrastructure funds.

Mayor Adelar: Council?

Councillor Morse: I dislike the comment that there are land talks [garble] Metro Vancouver and parks would say that they're not interested. [garble]

DRH: Well, I would comment and say that they're certainly always prepared to look at land swaps. In fact that, as far as I know, is currently on the table.

Councillor Lucas: I think frankly they've taken two years to build in terms of the actual construction zone, but it definitely probably took ten years to actually come about, and I think that would probably be conservative in terms of the sort of magnitude [garble] and I totally agree with you, the *concept* compared to the north side [garble] would be quite magic, in many ways. I think the realistic aspect of it, of actually having that, in this economy, given the nature of Bowen, would take a severe [garble]. We want a solution which is validly short term.

DRH: Well, my reaction to that ...

Councillor Lucas: We remarked, in our plan, we proposed right now, which is just a concept. It's a short term, basically simple solution that we can afford.

DRH: Yeah, well my reaction to that is to say that this current proposal that you're considering really doesn't change very much. It does not meet many of the requirements of our improved plan. If its going ... if you think it'll take a long time to get the south side approved and built, the sooner we start, the better, and in the meantime, we stay with the existing system, which may not be perfect, but at least it works, and doesn't offer ... the new plan doesn't offer much advantage over the existing system. I don't know why we would spend five and a half million dollars, of tax-payers’ money, and for a system which is not making significant improvement, and has some actual drawbacks, including, for instance, if somebody is in the marshalling line-up, which is only single lane, and they need to get out because—well this does happen, they have to drive the wrong way down the exit lanes. And the same thing, if somebody's in the line-up, and they're not in their car, again the whole line-up has to deviate around that and into the exit lanes. The roundabout, at the bottom end, even with traffic lights, that's going to block village traffic movement because there's a barrier. If they come to the village for any purpose at all ...

Mayor Adelar: [interrupting] I think we're talking about ferry marshalling instead of your ...

DRH: Well I was ans ... responding to ...

Mayor Adelar: [interrupting] I know, I think we're talking about ferry marshalling, so ... and, and bring it to an end here.

DRH: Yeah, well ... but that's all I'm saying is, that we should be getting on with the south side.

Mayor Adelar: Thank you. Thanks for your presentation.

DRH: Thank you very much indeed for asking me.

Page created 2012-12-11

Last modified: Tue Dec 11 16:02:33 PST 2012