Washington State Ferries Service released an updated Restoration Plan February 28, 2023. The timeline for the restoration of the international run between Anacortes and Sidney, British Columbia has been extended to 2030.
The ferry service ceased operating in 2020 due to restrictions related to the COVID-19 pandemic. It has not yet resumed primarily due to a shortage of qualified crew and more recently because of the retirement of vessels. On March 13, 2023, Washington State Ferries Government Relations Director John Vezina will present the Restoration Plan to the City Council during the regular council meeting.
The ferry connection between the Anacortes and Sidney, BC is a century old. On April 26th, 1922, the MV GLEANER and MV HARVESTER KING departed from Ocean Wharf on Q Avenue in Anacortes; the two converted steamers, together carrying a load of 23 automobiles and 175 eager passengers, voyaged first through the San Juan Islands, before landing at their destination of Sidney, B.C. The two communities celebrated their new maritime connection which has continued over these many years. (source https://www.anacorteswa.gov/1442/The-First-Trip-on-the-Sidney-Anacortes-F https://www.anacorteswa.gov/1442/The-First-Trip-on-the-Sidney-Anacortes-F)
The ferry service grew into a source of tourism for both communities, and also an important connection between friends and families across the Canada-US border. “I am unhappy to hear this disappointing news. I do not believe Washington State Ferries (WSF) has taken the proactive measures to restore this route. We understand the economic impacts, not only for our local and regional business communities, but for Washington State as a whole,” said Mayor Matt Miller. “We appreciate that Director Vezina will present on the Washington State Ferries Restoration Plan later this month. At this time, the City will focus on providing input on proactive solutions for restoring this service. We hope WSF is open to hearing our ideas and will restore this route long before 2030.”