Private ferry company working to start Cowichan Bay-Saanich Peninsula operation by summer 2020

A privately-run ferry company is working to get established between Cowichan Bay and the Saanich Peninsula.

Dogwood Ferries CEO Dylan Hildebrand has set an aggressive operating date of summer 2020, and is in negotiations with several players right now:

"We're quite a ways in. We're still in negotiations with some of the lease holders, but we've got support of the Tseycum First Nations, and we're working quite hard with Cowichan Tribes to get their support as well. We see that as really key to this whole effort. And then we're sort of in the middle of terminal design to make sure that we get the terminals that will work for us for their near term.  And looking at some vessels for vessel procurement as well."

Hildebrand says it's not the answer to the Malahat woes, but could make a dent in traffic, and is a needed service:

" You known the Malahat in the summer has about 30-thousand cars a day moving over it. With 2 ferries we could probably move 1,200 cars. So you know, we're making a dent. We're not the end-all- be-all, this is really primarily focussed on commuters and working to make sure we have that access to the highway when there's issues."

Hildebrand is urging supporters of the plan to write their MLAs to help move the proposal along.

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