For over 75 years, Lady Rose Marine Services has been providing a vital passenger and freight ferry connection between Port Alberni, Ucluelet, Bamfield and the Broken Group Islands. Now, under the leadership of owner Mike Surrell, the company is potentially about to undergo a major expansion with the addition of a car ferry service to the route.
Having purchased the BC Ferries vessel Tenaka in 2016, Surrell is currently going through the permit and approval process and is optimistic that the new service, along with new infrastructure, will be in place by 2019. With the support of the local community as well as that of BC Ferries — who has had a contract with Lady Rose Marine for over a quarter of a century to provide services in Barkley Sound — Surrell’s plan promises to reap benefits for the entire region. “Lady Rose provides valuable service to Barkley Sound and we are pleased to see the new venue moving forward,” said Captain Jamie Marshall, BC Ferries’ Vice President of Fleet Operations.
In 2005, Mike Surrell, originally from Pitt Meadows, B.C., was living in Louisiana, U.S., operating a K.O.A. Campground business when Hurricane Katrina hit. The harrowing experience prompted Surrell to sell his business and move back to Canada where he set down roots with his wife, Pauline, and (at the time) five-year-old daughter Haley in Port Alberni. By chance, Surrell learned that Lady Rose Marine was about to be put up for sale. Within two months, it was theirs.