By Gagandeep Ghuman
Published: March 20, 2018
Many commuters would be headed to Squamish waterfront rather than Highway 99 to board an early morning fast ferry to downtown Vancouver—if everything had gone according to plan.
Technical issues have delayed an ambitious fast ferry project that was first unveiled in Squamish about six years ago by two Powell River entrepreneurs.
Former councillor and former chair of Squamish Oceanfront Development Corporation, Tom Bruusgaard, worked closely with Bill and Graham Cocksedge, the two brothers who have been researching the prospect of high-speed commuter vessel between Squamish and Vancouver.
Bruusgaard said he has been told a key part of the experimentative vessel broke down, and a replacement has yet to be found.
“The driving system that lifts the boat out of the water and provides the air pressure that will drive the boat forward has been broken. They plates or the foils have been broken and they had to stop until they can find something that is similar to what they were working on. They are still keeping the optimism, and once the vessel is complete, it will be a major discovery,” he said.
It was in 2012 that Bill and Graham Cocksedge, owners of Slipstream High-speed vessels, made a presentation about TCV, the thrust cushion vehicle they are developing. TCV utilizes a single column of air to provide lift and thrust. A patented fan design lifts the hulls out of the water, adding lift to the thrust energy.
Compared to Hoovercraft, the TCVs would use half the power, create half the emissions but travel at up to twice their speed. The high-speed ferry would cut commuting times between Vancouver to 40 to 45 minutes, but would also be fuel efficient using 50 to 75 per cent less fuel than competing crafts.
It would have negligible wake and no underwater noise. About 32 metres long, the TCV could transport anywhere from 180 to 200 passengers at a speed of 120 kilometres an hour.
“If you think of going 20 knots… and the circle that you could draw around Vancouver, where many people are commuting to… you can only cover a fairly small circle if you assume that people will only be commuting for up to an hour,” Slipstream owner Bill Cocksedge told Metro.
“But if you go double that, then your circle size gets considerably bigger. If you’re going 60 or 70 knots, then all of a sudden you have a very large circle to draw from, and places that would be easily reachable become fairly numerous.”
Tom Bruusgaard says a fast ferry between Vancouver and Squamish with the Oceanfront being the launching point was planned after a survey found strong support for the idea several years ago. But the idea couldn’t be developed for lack of political will and the different direction that SODC took.
Bruusgaard, however, is confident a day will come when locals are commuting from Squamish to Vancouver via the Blue Highway.