Bridge from Nanaimo to Gabriola?

I first read about this in the local paper yesterday and immediately thought it to be the beginning of a major event in Nanaimo real estate were it to occur. I’m willing to bet that it will be a controversial subject for Gabriola Island residents as their having to rely on a ferry to make it into town is simultaneously what gives Gabriola its charm as well as being a ball and chain. You see, if you miss the last ferry while on the Nanaimo side of the water… you’re stuck for the night. Plus you have to arrange your life around the ferries in general, not to mention pay for the ferry. A reason why after having lived there for a time, people fairly often give up on it and move into Nanaimo proper. However, there are those who live out there specifically for the semi isolation. You can see the source for controversy here.

Personally, I’d be surprised if it went through as I think that in even if the movement does gain enough support from those on Gabriola to go ahead, there will be the additional hurdle of convincing people to actually put tax money into it.

Regardless, I’ll be watching this with close interest because if plans for a bridge are announced, I’ll be very interested in looking at mortgages and buying some Gabriola real estate as I really think prices will go up there quickly once it becomes easy to access.

Below is an article on the topic from the Nanaimo Daily News.

Ryan Coffey

Robert Barron
Daily News
Gabriolans marched in protest of ferry fare increases in March.
CREDIT: Daily News file
Gabriolans marched in protest of ferry fare increases in March.

The idea of building a bridge linking Nanaimo with Gabriola Island refuses to go away.

The much-ballyhooed concept was raised again Friday. B.C. Ferries CEO David Hahn told radio show host Vaughn Palmer on Friday morning that the corporation is willing to spend $5,000 to conduct a survey of Gabriola Island residents to determine if they would rather have a bridge built, or continue with its ferry service to Vancouver Island.

B.C. Ferries spokeswoman Deb Marshall said the corporation had received a request for the survey after the corporation applied for fuel surcharges of 8-9% on major routes and 15-20% on smaller routes, including Nanaimo-Gabriola.

The substantial surcharges, which the corporation hopes will be in place by August, must be approved by B.C. Ferries Commissioner Martin Crilly before they become effective.

“First, we must discuss the survey idea with our ferry advisory committee on Gabriola Island to see if they support it,” Marshall said.

“If we decide to conduct the survey and the majority of Gabriola Islanders support building a bridge, then we’d take the matter up with the Ministry of Transportation.

“Gabriola is the only island we serve where we’re considering conducting a survey at this point because it was the only one from which a request was received.”

The idea of building a bridge between Nanaimo and Gabriola Island has been talked about since the 1960s.

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