Letter from Bert Paul to Bowen Island Trustees concerning report on the assessment of intertidal biota subject to wave impacts from Pacificat Ferries for Bowen Island Coastal Residents

Subject: Letter re Base Line Study
Author: Bert Paul
Date: 3/8/00 9:50 AM
Ferry C.U.R.E. Society
P.O. Box Z-9
1645 Whitesails Drive
Bowen Island, B.C., VON IGO
Telephone: (604) 947-9130
Website: http://www.firethorne.com/ferrycure

March 8, 2000

Messrs. Ross Carter and Peter Frinton
Bowen Island Trust Council
P.O. Box 279
Bowen Island, B.C., VONIGO

Dear Trustees: Re: Request to Investigate Environmental Impact of Pacificat Ferries

As you are aware, Ferry C.U.R.E. is a registered B.C. society which is a community based coalition of users to re-establish equity in ferry rates and practices. I am writing further to our recent communications relating to environmental concerns on the impact of the Pacificat Ferries.

The purpose of this letter is threefold:


As you are aware, the Pacificat Ferries have been in full service since July 1999. During sea trials in the fall of 1998 and subsequently there have been numerous media reports documenting how the Pacificat Ferries' wake has resulted in substantial damage to the foreshore environment. In August 1999 Ferry C.U.R.E. commissioned a professional baseline study of three intertidal sites on Bowen Island to assess the damaging environmental effects of the Pacificat Ferries on our shoreline. Dr. Bill Austin of Khoyatan Marine Laboratory in Cowichan Bay has now completed his study.

As well, the Corporation is presently completing a review of the wake and wash of the Pacificat Ferries at a cost of $282,000. The project's purpose is to establish passage plans for the fast ferry service between Horseshoe Bay and Nanaimo that will meet the Corporation's operating schedule and result in acceptable levels of safety to person and property. Another purpose of the project is to explore other actions to mitigate the possible effects arising from the Pacificats' wake wash.

Accordingly this letter is to advise:

The following are the recommendations of this report:

  1. Document changes in sailing patterns of Pacificats since initiating reports in July 1999.
  2. Collate any information on perceived changes in wave patterns on the shore-line which might be related to changes in sailing patterns.
  3. Obtain copies of impact studies commissioned by BC Ferries and assess them.
  4. Revisit the stations in August 2000 to assess any changes in biota.
  5. Compare the physical characteristics of waves generated from the various kinds of storms, regular ferries and catamaran ferries.
  6. Experimentally demonstrate the effects of waves comparable to those generated by Pacificats on the macrobiota and on various types of beaches.
  7. Introduce marked mobile animals (e.g., limpets, periwinkles and seastars) to habitats subject to catamaran waves and to control sites and assess subsequent fate.
  8. Assess habitats in wave protected or semi-protected areas which are (or better) will be subject to wave action from Pacificat.


In summary, Ferry C.U.R.E looks forward to your consideration of our request that the Islands Trust, in collaboration with other stakeholders and interested parties, actively fund and take action on the recommendations of the report.

As well, we would request that you follow up on the specific incident at the Beaty property as it provides further support for an investigation into the environmental review performed by the Corporation of the Pacificat ferry operation.

We would also like to thank the Islands Trust for providing a grant of $500 towards the total cost of the baseline study of $1,750.

The Islands Trust has a "duty of care" to act diligently in fulfilling its mandate to protect and conserve the Islands and waters within the Islands Trust jurisdiction. I am confident that as trustees you will continue to perform your duties diligently.

Thank you for your co-operation in responding to this request. Please feel free to contact me if you have any questions relating to the matters raised.

Yours truly,

Elbert K. Paul, C.A.
Director, Ferry C.U.R.E.


Page last updated 00-03-10