PA-Victoria ferry gets new lease
April 4th, 2014 - 5:11am
(Victoria) -- The ferry M-V Coho has won a 3-year lease at the Belleville Street dock in downtown Victoria.
The Victoria Times Colonist reports owners of both the Coho and the Victoria Clipper ferry companies are
hoping for long-term leases after the latest three-year term.
The paper reported this week that the relatively short leases are designed to give British Columbia's
Ministry of Transportation time to assess and plan for the future of the aging Belleville docks, used by the
ferries carrying hundreds of thousands of passengers every year.
Leases between the province and the two companies, expire this year.
The Transportation Ministry recently took over the Belleville site in Victoria Harbour.
The property was previously owned by the Provincial Capital Commission, which is being dissolved by
the province to save money.
Presidents of both ferry companies — Ryan Burles of Black Ball Ferry Line, owner of the Coho, and Darrell Bryan
of the Victoria Clipper — said they are pleased the ministry has taken on the job of managing the docks, given its
experience and expertise in handling major projects.
Burles says that ideally, the Coho dock would be replaced in the next two to three years.
He told the newspaper, “We want a long-term lease and we are confident that we’ll get one, and get a dock that
will last for 75 years, whether it be for us, or for anybody.”
Discussions are continuing for a new Clipper lease, also at three years.
Both companies provide significant economic benefits locally.
The Coho carries almost 400-thousand passengers annually between Victoria and Port Angeles.
A province statement says the Coho generates more than 120-million dollars in economic activity on Vancouver
Island each year.
The statement says the province will “carry out an engineering assessment of the wharves used by these ferries to
determine their condition, remaining lifespan and what repairs are needed. This information will be used to develop
a plan for these assets, based on the scope and cost of repairs.”
Transportation and Infrastructure Minister Todd Stone said, “The MV Coho ferry supports local tourism, economic
development and provides an important service for families and communities. “Extending the lease is the first step in
developing a long-term partnership and plan to improve the infrastructure, so this important service can continue.”
The Belleville Ferry Terminal lands are being looked at within the Vancouver Island Transportation Strategy developed
to enhance the movement of people and goods via sea, land, air and rail.
Further, the terminal property is being examined within the province’s overall 10-year transportation plan.
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