Expansion planned for Seaspan's North Saanich freight ferry terminal adjacent to Swartz Bay
MIKE KOZAKOWSKI, CITIFIED.CA
Published July 25, 2018
The Seaspan Ferries Corporation's commercial terminal adjacent to BC Ferries’ Swartz Bay passenger terminal is gearing up for an expansion amid growing demand for freight shipments to Vancouver Island, Citified has learned.
Located along Dolphin Road in North Saanich, Seaspan’s intermodal facility handles the transport of freight trailers and vehicles between Victoria and Metro Vancouver while also providing a compound for Piers Island residents who leave their vehicles behind prior to sailing to the small isle off the coast of North Saanich.
Planning and community consultations have reportedly been underway since last year, with project goals leading to improved lighting at the Seaspan facility, a realignment of Barnacle Road which currently services the Piers Island vehicle parking and storage lot, and expanded parking.
A formal municipal planning process will begin once refined plans are available for public consumption and civic review.
Last summer Seaspan opened a $44 million intermodal facility at Nanaimo’s Duke Point industrial area to handle growing freight traffic to Vancouver Island, which, according to the company, accounts for roughly 50% of all consumer goods available to Island residents.
The commercial terminal’s improvements will coincide with BC Ferries’ plans to modernize the Swartz Bay ferry terminal within the next several years and, according to a report first published by Citified
, introduce the possibility of higher frequency sailings to Metro Vancouver.
Serving approximately 7.2 million passengers per year, BC Ferries expects traveller volumes at the North Saanich transport hub to rise to 7.7 million by 2032, and accommodating that growth while managing the expectations of the travelling public will necessitate a significant infrastructure and services overhaul.
The organization’s identified goals include a re-envisioning of the foot passenger terminal into a larger, airport-like facility (with retail amenities) designed to reduce mobility conflicts between arriving and departing passengers. The passenger terminal’s vehicle drop-off and pick-up zones will also be redesigned to better handle incoming and outgoing traffic.
Improvements to the terminal’s vehicle traffic area will materialize in the form of a new retail building and lounge which is currently described by BC Ferries as being “at the end of [its] service life.” What the new retail building will look like – and whether it will follow in the footsteps of Metro Vancouver’s Quay Market at the Tsawwassen terminal – remains to be seen.
Commercial and freight traffic may also see improvements in the form of an expanded drop trailer facility adjacent to Seaspan's trailer parking and a realignment of Dolphin Road which acts as an artery for Swartz Bay’s tractor-trailer traffic. The road changes would be in addition to Seaspan’s realignment of Barnacle Road for the Piers Island Compound. C
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