A proposed vehicle ferry that would travel from Port Alberni to Ucluelet and Bamfield is a good idea, says a spokesperson with the west coast-based Huu-ay-aht First Nations.
Mike Surrell, owner of Lady Rose Marine Services, Mike Surrell, said he is speaking with the government for the potential vehicle service after purchasing the MV Tenaka car ferry from BC Ferries last year. He had originally intended to refurbish the ferry to add to his passenger and freight service, but asked the Alberni-Clayoquot Regional District board last week for a letter of support for the car ferry service.
“With the possibility of a car ferry coming down to Huu-ay-aht territory or to Bamfield would be a great benefit to Huu-ay-aht because we have a focus on transportation,” said Trevor Cootes, Huu-ay-aht executive council member with the economic development portfolio. “It’s an 80-kilometre logging road that comes to us so that’s a challenge in itself. To be able to offer other means of transportation to our territory is something that we’re actively seeking.”
The Huu-ay-aht purchased a number of properties in Bamfield in 2016, including a small airstrip.
“That’s just an indicator that we’re looking to provide different ways of people coming into our area, so with Mike’s [ferry initiative] it just kind of adds to that opportunity,” Cootes said.
Cootes said the Huu-ay-aht have provided a letter of support to Surrell at Lady Rose Marine Services in regards to the proposed development of vehicle ferry transportation.
“We’re looking to develop diverse sustainable profitable businesses within our traditions but we’re also actively seeking and promoting economic initiatives in the territory,” Cootes said. “It’s always nice to see other businesses wanting to participate locally.”