Skip to content

West Van's Ferry Building looks ready to reopen – why hasn't it yet?

Problem shrubbery has been the latest and hopefully last hiccup in pushing the multimillion-dollar restoration project over the finish line

BC Ferries travellers are used to sailing waits.

So it might not come as a shock that the Ferry Building Gallery at Ambleside Landing has faced delays in reopening the iconic heritage site.

A series of upgrades to preserve the historic structure were slated for completion last summer, after receiving a $1.85-million grant from senior levels of government in 2020.

But the end date was pushed back due to supply chain issues, sorting out legal requirements and, most recently, shrubbery.

By the start of the new year, the District of West Vancouver said the delays were out of its control. Virtually all the upgrades had been completed, but BC Hydro had to sort out legal requirements with CN Rail – service lines are within right of way of the adjacent railway – before power could energize the building.

In response to a query from the North Shore News, BC Hydro said the site is ready to be energized with no known legal issues.

“The holdup is the contractor being required to add clearance between a pad-mounted transformer box,” BC Hydro spokesperson Susie Rieder said by email. “Our team met with the contractor in early January and advised them on how to do this, by removing some bushes, but this hasn’t been done yet.”

Once the shrubs in question – planted around the green-coloured box in front of the building – are removed, the utility company said it will energize the site.

All that’s left is to schedule that work, as well as some final electrical and mechanical tasks, said district community relations liaison Natalie Roizman.

“BC Hydro realized there was some other landscape requirements they hadn’t noticed previously,” she said. “I don’t have a date as to when that will happen.”

Roizman said she anticipates the unexpected hiccup to be resolved within the next month or two. “We’re really hoping it opens this winter.” There’s a ribbon cutting and opening exhibition planned once everything is in working order, she added.

After serving as a public art gallery for 30 years, restoration of the nearly 110-year-old Ferry Building has included relocating it to higher ground, seismic upgrades, flood proofing, new accessible washrooms, a side lift, basement, exterior stairs and ramp, as well as various structural repairs.

The District of West Vancouver, which applied for the federal-provincial funding, contributed over $600,000 to the $2.5-million restoration.

The Ferry Building was built in 1913 and designated a municipal heritage property in 1987.

push icon
Be the first to read breaking stories. Enable push notifications on your device. Disable anytime.
No thanks