LITTLE RIVER, B.C. – A BC Ferries vessel will sail directly from Texada Island to Comox and back.

But passengers will have to wait a while before it’s operational.

After input from the Texada community over the past year-and-a-half, BC Ferries has initiated a pilot where the ferry that normally travels from Powell River to Comox will make a stop at Texada Island.

This will allow Texada Island residents to board the ferry and continue to Comox, likely in the morning.

Then, in the afternoon, the ferry will stop again at Texada Island en route to Powell River and drop the passengers off.

“We’re working out the details of this pilot,” said BC Ferries public affairs manager Darin Guenette. “But we first have to do some work at the Blubber Bay/Texada terminal to strengthen the wing walls and that’s not scheduled till sometime next spring. And we’re working with the community on, ‘What will the schedule of this pilot look like?'”

The work on the wing walls is expected to be completed by June or July of 2019.

“So we couldn’t start this direct service until sometime after that. And that’s what we have to finalize with the community; we still have to do a little engagement on that,” Guenette said.

He added that it “would make more sense” to launch the pilot after the peak summer season, “so next fall.”

Guinette said one Salish-class vessel will be used twice a week, on Wednesdays and Saturdays for the sailings.

“In the morning, it stops at Texada on the way to Comox and in the afternoon (it stops) on the way back,” he said.

Currently, passengers have no choice but to take a circuitous route to get from Texada to Comox.

Guenette explains: “Right now, to get from Texada to Comox you’ve got to get over to Powell River first, wait, catch the ferry, and then go from Powell River to Comox.”

This pilot has been a few years in the making “with Texadans wondering if there is a way that once in a while they could get a direct service from Texada straight to Comox and back, and we think we’ve got a good way to try this.”