BC Ferries plans to replace the Capilano

Century-class ferry expected within 2 years

by Richard Littlemore, GVRD Director

(The Bowen Island Undercurrent, October 15th 1999, p1: with permission)

BC Ferries is planning to replace the Queen of Capilano with a new Century-class ferry sometime within the next two years, BCF President Bob Lingwood said recently.

In an hour-long interview at the Union of B.C. Municipalities (UBCM) meeting in Vancouver, Lingwood said there is no plan to switch the Cap with a smaller ferry in the meantime. Neither, though, does BCF intend to add a second car deck to our existing boat, he said.

BCF believes the Cap is better suited in its current configuration to another run. But the Ferry Corporation also realizes that Bowen's traffic will soon demand a bigger vessel. Thus, Lingwood said, the corporation is looking at building another Century-class boat, similar to the Skeena, especially for this run.

Before construction begins, however, ferry officials want to be sure they have a cure for the Skeena's vibration problems, which result from the way the engines are mounted. The Bowen ferry would also have “very different” passenger accommodations than the Skeena's, which Lingwood acknowledged are noisy and uncomfortable.

The introduction of a new ferry will necessitate some construction work on the Snug Cove dock. Lingwood said BCF will not re-align the dock, but will extend the wingwalls and rehabilitate the ramp. That would be the ferry corporation's preferred time to rework passenger marshalling facilities, perhaps to replace the shelter and washrooms with a dryland turnabout and a new shelter.

As for fares, no increase is anticipated before the middle of next year at the earliest, Lingwood said.

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