Swartz Bay walk-on access?

Discussion in 'General Paddling Discussions' started by Mark_Schilling, Jul 27, 2009.

  1. Mark_Schilling

    Mark_Schilling Paddler

    Mar 8, 2005
    "Home by the Sea" - Nanaimo, BC
    I've noticed over the last couple of months that the Swartz Bay ferry terminal has changed considerably in some places, in terms of access to the terminal property. This has all been done in the name of (perceived) security (IMO it's not really any more secure that it ever was, but that's beside the point!). I used to park at the Government wharf (free parking lot) and walk through a gate into the ferry lot, buy a ticket at the office (cafeteria building) and walk straight on the ferry via the car deck. I'd gotten on a 1pm sailing numerous times after parking as late as about 10 minutes before the hour this way!

    Unfortunately (for me), BC Ferries has closed up most of the gates and gaps in the fences so now, as of yesterday actually, it seems I'll now have to pay to park or walk up to the car ticketing booths and back down the entire length of the ferry lot to board the ferry. I had to do this in reverse last night to get out of the terminal - I was almost locked in the lot overnight, as the last ferry of the night had finished unloading before I was able to find my way out of the lot, as they'd made considerable changes since I went over on Friday afternoon!

    However, walking back up the kayak / bike path from the car ticket booths up to Dolphin Road (which leads to the Government wharf), I noticed that they'd installed a series of yellow steel 'labyrinth' fences, presumably to encourage cyclists to dismount before entering the car line-ups to buy a ticket at the main ticket booths. I surmised that there would be no way through or around these 'gates' with a kayak on a cart, especially a loaded one! Before I fire off an email to BC Ferries, has anyone walked onto the ferries lately that has encountered what I'm referring to? If you're getting dropped off on Dolphin Road or walking from elsewhere, where have you entered the lot with your kayak?