Nanaimo officials got a clearer look at private investors group's proposal for a foot passenger ferry service from Nanaimo to Vancouver. The group, Island Ferry Service Ltd., is seeking a 20-year lease of city-owned land at 1 Port Dr., although it hopes to eventually relocate its terminal operations to the current Seaspan terminal.
The group also wants a partnering agreement with the city, which would see the city forgo up to $500,000 in revenue from the project each year for the first five years of operation as well as establish sewer and water service to a terminal building. In return, the city would net over $4 million over the first 10 years from revenue from ferry operations, according to David Marshall, one of three principal investors seeking to establish the ferry service.
Marshall appeared before Nanaimo Mayor John Ruttan and councillors to make his case for the $60-million to $63.5-million project.
He said the service would offer six round trips between the two cities during the peak season. Tickets would sell for about $30, with special rates for seniors, children and frequent travellers.
Island Ferry Services Ltd.
- the consortium of investors Marshall is involved in - is in talks with two international investors to provide capital for the business venture. Marshall said he and his partners have not yet secured all the resources they need to make the project move forward, but added the time is right to go public with the pitch.
Several other seed investors from B.C., Alberta and the U.S. are involved in the project as well.
"We're looking to lock in our final piece of financing, and we would prefer to have that done before coming to council, but we're at a point now where we have to go public in order to complete some of the discussions we want to have with Nanaimo," he said.
The consortium would seek to establish more than 300 parking spots south of the wooden trestle to the waterfront area.
Marshall, the principal owner of Victoria-based Strategus Consulting, is also a retired naval captain and a board director on the Greater Victoria Harbour Authority. He said the group of businesspeople behind the proposal have a wealth of marine transportation sector experience.
Council received a staff report on the issue for information. Work on the project has been going on for the past four years.
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