The District of West Vancouver hopes a ferry route linking the municipality with downtown Vancouver will be the first step in kick-starting the community’s waterfront revitalization effort, one city councillor said yesterday.
“What we’re hoping is that it’ll become a transportation route that runs all day long,” said West Vancouver Coun. Shannon Walker.
Council voted Monday night to back a six-month trial of the ferry route.
The route has been in talks for nearly a decade, she said. If successful, the ferry could encourage more tourists to visit the municipality’s picturesque Ambleside business district, which will in turn lead to more development of the waterfront community.
Peter Oates, who owns Carmelo’s, a popular Italian restaurant in the 1400 block of Marine Drive, said he welcomes the ferry project.
“Anything that brings business into Ambleside is good,” he said, adding that the restaurant is eager to roll out the carpet for out-of-town diners.
Coastal Link Ferries, which already runs a route between Bowen Island and Coal Harbour, will operate the pilot project and hopes to have it up and running by Nov. 1.
“The sailing time (from West Vancouver) to downtown is only 10 minutes; with turnaround it’s 15,” said Ihab Shaker, who owns the private ferry company.
During the trial period, the ferry will only run during peak commuter hours, but Shaker said he would “love nothing more” than to expand to full-day service.