English Bay Launch, a water taxi company that offered a daily commuter service between Snug Cove, Granville Island and Coal Harbour, is shutting down as of December 16. Mike Shannon, the owner of the business, said that he had been holding out to see if discussions about a national park would continue. But since the community opinion vote on November 19 decided that negotiations with Parks Canada would come to a halt, Shannon has stopped the unprofitable run to Bowen Island. He considers starting up a weekend service in May but he says that "nothing is for sure" at this point.
English Bay Launch took over the run from Granville Island to Snug Cove in October 2009 when the Granville Island Water Taxi company discontinued its service. In February 2010, English Bay Launch added another boat to keep the route to Coal Harbour open after Coastal Link Ferries shut down its operation. It was a valuable service for Bowen Island commuters but Shannon said, "We've never made money on that business. I have another water taxi company that has been supporting the Bowen Island run." Especially challenging were the times when Shannon had to rely on local commuters without the benefit of the tourists. "Weekends weren't too bad in the summer but without the tourists, it doesn't work." With that in mind, Shannon said that he is looking at starting up the water taxi for weekend service to Bowen Island next year from the May long weekend until September.
Shannon knows that the Monday to Friday commuter service will be missed. He said, "We tried our best but it was really frustrating. A business like that has to have a lot of local support. We were waiting to hear if the park was going through." He added that English Bay Launch wasn't the only business that had been hoping to get a boost from the national park process. But without that, it simply wasn't viable.