Details of a proposed foot passenger ferry service come before Nanaimo council today, and one city councillor says the information should spark a community conversation on the idea.
David Marshall, a representative for Island Ferry Services Ltd., is slated to appear before the committee of the whole this afternoon to present new information on the proposal.
The consortium aims to operate a ferry service with three daily round trips between downtown Nanaimo and downtown Vancouver. A short-term terminal would be located on city-owned land at 1 Port Dr.
The proponent is asking the city to forgo up to $500,000 in revenue from the ferry operations each year for the first five years, plus supply the terminal building with sewer and water hookup, a $115,000-investment.
In return, the city would get $60,000 a year in lease payments, a $0.25 per passenger head tax and half of net parking revenue on city-owned land.
Coun. Bill McKay, former operations manager for the nowdefunct HarbourLynx service, said the proposal is "a good starting point," but said a public discussion needs to take place about what the project would offer, and how the agreement would work.
"I certainly believe we want to support them in any way we can, but I still want to see how the nuts and bolts would work," he said.
Island Ferry Service has its sights set on a permanent terminal building at the current Seaspan terminal, according to a city report. Seaspan Ferries met with the group "a while back" to discuss the idea, said Seaspan Ferries vice-president Steve Roth. While Seaspan is considering consolidating its operations in the Duke Point area, Roth said his company is just in the "conceptual stage" and has no plans to leave its current terminal.
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