Thousands stranded after third day of BC Ferries cancellations
TSAWWASSEN -- Thousands of people have been stranded this weekend after BC Ferries cancelled more than a dozen sailings for the third day in a row.
Wind gusts of up to 70 km/h have created a nightmare for travellers.
The gale-force winds triggered another wind warning from Environment Canada for Richmond and Delta on Sunday.
As a result, trips on all major BC Ferries routes were cancelled late Sunday morning and service didn’t resume until 7 p.m.
The Tsawwassen-Swartz Bay, Horseshoe Bay-Nanaimo, Horseshoe Bay-Langdale, Port McNeil-Alert Bay-Sointula and Tsawwassen-Southern Gulf Islands routes were all affected.
“This has been a significant storm and we have had to cancel a number of sailings. More than usual for this time of year,” said Chelsea Carlson, a spokesperson for BC Ferries.
Carlson said BC Ferries takes several factors into consideration when deciding whether it's safe to sail, including wind speed, sea state and wave height.
The delays created a significant backlog of travellers.
“This is our second time trying to get back,” said Maggie McLean, who was trying to return home to Vancouver Island. “So this is a little frustrating.”
McLean estimates she spent a total of more than 20 hours waiting for ferries this weekend.
“We would have liked to have known before we packed and left our place in White Rock," she said. "We actually arrived here just as they cancelled them.”
She was just one of the hundreds of people who decided to secure a place in line, despite the cancellations.
“It’s nuts. Well, because we were driving here and absolutely zero wind, we were like ‘it cannot be that bad,’ but then we pulled into the terminal and now look it,” said Megan Johnston, as powerful wind gusts blew sheets of rain into her car through an open window.
“I guess they knew more than we did about the weather,” added her friend Savannah Schrader, jokingly, from the passenger seat.
To make matters worse, businesses in the normally bustling Tsawwassen Quay Market were shutdown for much of the day.
“All the stores have closed down and I don’t blame them, but they say they’ll be back to serve us supper,” said Nancy Rizk, who was heading to the Island.
The closure was yet another challenge, in an already trying situation.
“People need somewhere to sit and have a coffee or at least eat something and there’s nothing," said McLean. "Nothing available, other than if you want to go with the automatic vendors."
Quay Property Management could not be reached for an explanation Sunday.
Despite having their weekend plans ruined, most passengers chose to make the best of it.
“Actually I was looking forward to just having some quiet time, so it’s okay,” said Rizk. “It’s inconvenient, but that’s living on the coast. To me it’s worth it to be near the ocean and the mountains.”