Port Angeles mayor, others caught off-guard by Victoria’s MV Coho relocation proposal

PORT ANGELES – Mayor Karen Rogers said Tuesday she wants a joint meeting of the Port Angeles and Victoria city councils to discuss a proposal to edge the MV Coho out of Victoria’s Inner Harbour.

She said she plans to write a letter to Victoria Mayor Alan Lowe, asking for a meeting after he returns from vacation on Aug. 20.

“I want to ask him, ‘What is your vision for ensuring we have that great exchange of tourism?'” Rogers said.

She and others involved with tourism in Port Angeles say they were caught off guard when a task force formed by Lowe to develop a redevelopment plan for Inner Harbour concluded Monday that there’d be no room for the year-round car-passenger ferry from Port Angeles.

Rogers said she plans to meet with officials of Black Ball Transport Inc., which operates the Coho.

The Coho, which has a capacity of 1,000 passengers and about 100 cars, ferries both vehicles and tourists between the two cities across the Strait of Juan De Fuca.

In the summer, the ferry makes four trips daily. It operates year-round.

Black Ball’s vice president, Ryan Burles, estimates the company has taken to Victoria 131,000 vehicles and 511,000 passengers on average each year for the past 15 years.

Lowe’s task force presented the redevelopment proposal to the Victoria City Council on Monday night.

The $100 million plan includes a new passenger ferry terminal, a new waterfront hotel and restoration of the historic Canadian Pacific building that houses the Royal London Wax Museum next door to the Coho terminal.

(See the Times Colonist‘s continuing coverage of the task force’s redevelopment proposal at www.timescolonist.com.)

The task force said that the Coho service from Port Angeles has outgrown the Inner Harbour and needs to move its terminus – possibly to Esquimalt to the west or Sidney to the northeast – to accommodate redevelopment.

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