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Potential vehicle ferry from Alberni harbour to Bamfield and Ucluelet

Lady Rose Marine Services hopes to offer a vehicle ferry from Alberni to the coastal communities
NEWS FILE PHOTO Mike Surrell of Lady Rose Marine Services purchased the MV Tenaka from BC Ferries last year to add to his fleet.

Lady Rose Marine Services is looking at offering vehicle ferry service from Port Alberni to Bamfield and Ucluelet, sooner than later, although no plans are finalized yet.

Mike Surrell, owner of Lady Rose Marine Services, said he is speaking with the government for the potential vehicle service.

“It is still too early for me to talk much about. I don’t want to get into a legal bind,” Surrell said. “This will be a massive deal if it gets together.”

Surrell purchased a small BC Ferries vessel—the MV Tenaka—last year with the intent of expanding Lady Rose Marine Services tourism business in the Port Alberni Harbour.

Last year, Surrell didn’t disclose if he would use the the 43-metre MV Tenaka for a vehicle ferry service or not.

During a March 22 Alberni-Clayoquot Regional District (ACRD) meeting, Surrell requested—and the ACRD board of directors agreed— a letter of support for potential vehicle service.

“Mr. Surrell has been working hard on expanding his business, he purchased a car ferry originally intending to not use it for vehicles but had such a high volume of people requesting to make reservations that he saw the benefit to it running to the coast on a regular basis,” said Dianne St. Jacques, mayor of Ucluelet. “I think it’s a pretty exciting project for Port Alberni and for the coast.”

Several other ACRD directors showed support verbally for the possibility of a vehicle ferry service.

“I think this is a wonderful project. It will bring on a much needed tourist boost and possibly a circle route between our west coast communities,” said Tony Bennett, Long Beach director.

“It would be absolutely crazy for us not to endorse a private enterprise.”