Walkway good for business, Horseshoe Bay businesses say
With thousands of potential customers transiting through Horseshoe Bay’s BC Ferries terminal, the bay’s business owners want to ensure they tap into that market.
It’s not a new story. The Horseshoe Bay Business Association was created in 2004, when BC Ferries threatened to bar passengers from leaving the terminal. Seven years later, the corporation and local companies have found common ground.
“This is a full circle to us,” business association president Holly Kemp said, noting communication lines haven’t been better.
Funded by a $1.3 million federal and provincial investment, a pedestrian walkway is being constructed in the terminal that will allow vehicle lineup passengers to safely visit Horseshoe Bay Village. The walkway will span from the Nanaimo vehicle parking across the disembarking ferry traffic lanes and hooks into the existing second level gangway.
With 18 of 25 Horseshoe Bay businesses in the food industry, Kemp is hoping more foot traffic will support a growth in diversity of shopfronts.
Horseshoe Bay needs to be more cohesive, Starfish Studio general manager Christie McPhee added. “We want residents to shop here too.”
Kemp has suggested a business directory be placed at the terminal exit to help direct people into the bay. The association is meeting with John Weston, MP West Vancouver-Sunshine Coast-Sea-to-Sky Country, to hone their ideas.
While drumming up business may be a byproduct of the new pedestrianway, BC Ferries is focused on safety and security, terminal operations director Jason Bowman said. There have been close calls between passengers racing to their cars and unloading ferry traffic, he said. Other than people with dogs and bicycles, the walkway also creates a single terminal access point which is easy to monitor, Bowman said.