Discovery Coast Ferry Returns For 2018 Season!

September 20th, 2016, Announcements, News

Tourism Industry pleased with 2 ferry solution in the Great Bear Rainforest

September 6, 2016

WILLIAMS LAKE – Today’s provincial government announcement by Premier Christy Clark demonstrates the power of partnership, and brings new opportunities for the tourism industry and communities of the Cariboo Chilcotin Coast. In her statement at noon today, Premier Clark committed to a seasonal direct BC Ferries service between Bella Coola and Port Hardy, on a new vessel, to commence in the spring of 2018. This new ferry will be in addition to the existing “connector” ferry service, using the MV Nimpkish to service the communities of Bella Coola, Bella Bella, Ocean Falls, Klemtu and Shearwater.

“Today’s announcement is a significant achievement that will drive tourism development and economic stability across the region,” states Cariboo Chilcotin Coast Tourism Association (CCCTA) CEO Amy Thacker. “This issue has shown the unity of rural communities on key issues and demonstrates the leadership and innovation of the tourism industry in rural British Columbia.”

“Cariboo Chilcotin Coast Tourism is proud to have led such a diverse group of Aboriginal and Non-aboriginal partners on this journey to build a new vision for the Great Bear Rainforest,” says CCCTA Past-Chair and Mid-Coast Working Group Co-Chair Pat Corbett. “Today’s announcement reflects the power of partnership and will lead to job creation and economic development in a vital part of rural British Columbia.”Corbett stressed that, “without the steadfast support of Cariboo-Chilcotin MLA Donna Barnett the Working Group may not have been celebrating today’s announcement.”

“As MLA for the Cariboo-Chilcotin, and a strong advocate of the tourism industry, I am thrilled at the opportunity this new ferry and route from Port Hardy to Bella Coola provide. It has been my privilege and pleasure to work with the Mid-Coast Working Group since it came together, joining aboriginal and non-aboriginal partners in tourism. This new ferry service will provide jobs and help grow the economy in the Cariboo Chilcotin. With the announcement of the Great Bear Rainforest preservation the opportunities for Aboriginal tourism to provide economic opportunities for First Nations grows exponentially,” shares Cariboo-Chilcotin MLA Donna Barnett.

The Mid-Coast Working Group, consisting of 15 Aboriginal and Non-aboriginal partners from across the province, united in the creation of a new vision for tourism development and economic sustainability in the Great Bear Rainforest. “This is a significant achievement today and the work of Aboriginal Tourism Association of Canada (ATAC) as part of the Mid-Coast Working Group is one of the best examples of Aboriginal and Non-aboriginal tourism industry partnerships in this country,” said ATAC President/CEO and Mid-Coast Working Group Co-Chair Keith Henry. “Aboriginal tourism along BC’s coast is yet to realize its full potential and today marks an important step in our work to build new experiences and market this incredible destination to the world.”

“Aboriginal tourism businesses are among the big winners with today’s announcement,” said Brenda Baptiste, Aboriginal Tourism BC Chair. “Now the real work begins to tell the world that this part of BC is fully open for business. We’re looking forward to drawing up our marketing plans together with fellow partners on the Mid-Coast BC Ferry Working Group.”

West Chilcotin Tourism Association president Petrus Rykes states, “This new direct ferry service will complete the Discovery Coast Circle Tour and provide superior access to the spectacular Great Bear Rainforest and Chilcotin Ark.”

Premier Clark’s announcement endorses the Working Group’s vision recommendations, including the provision of a new direct service between Port Hardy and Bella Coola with a new tourism-focused vessel and schedule. “A comfortable vessel that appeals to international tourists sailing on a direct daylight schedule between Bella Coola and Port Hardy is exactly what our local community has pressed for since the service was first instated 20 years ago. The decision to enhance the marine link in the Discovery Coast Circle Tour in this way recognizes the economic potential of both eco- and aboriginal tourism in our region by providing the transportation infrastructure necessary for the mid-coast gateway to the Great Bear Rainforest – an ecological gem known world-wide,” shares Ernest Hall, president of Bella Coola Valley Tourism. Hall is also co-chair of the BC Ferries Mid-Coast Ferry Advisor Committee providing community input to BC Ferries on issues such as scheduling, pricing and community engagement.

“The City of Williams Lake is proud to work with our First Nations partners on the central and mid-Coast towards this solution. We know they will feel the immediate effects of this positive announcement, and the interior of British Columbia, including Williams Lake, will also benefit from the increased transportation access,” states Williams Lake Councillor Jason Ryll. “We are very proud to have played a role in this first ever collaboration between First Nations, governments and industry in developing a solution that benefits everyone.”

The Mid-Coast Working Group will continue to collaborate with BC Ferries and the provincial government on the implementation of the new service. CCCTA, in collaboration with Destination BC, recently announced the creation of a Destination Development plan for the Chilcotin-Coast. “The announcement of this new service will be a key component to support the Destination Development plan for the Chilcotin-Coast,” adds CCCTA Chair Andre Kuerbis. “With a key access link in place this new 10 year strategy can focus on bringing new investment, jobs and remarkable experiences to the Region.”

Destination BC is leading the creation of a provincial Destination Development plan through the creation of sub-regional plans throughout the province. For more information visit

CCCTA Media Relations Manager
Geoff Moore 250-392-2226