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A passenger catches a nap as the morning light rises over the waters of Horseshoe Bay as the ferry Queen of Oak Bay departs for Nanaimo, B.C. early Tuesday, Sept. 7, 2010.

Jonathan Hayward/THE CANADIAN PRESS

Transportation Minister Todd Stone says he's changing course when it comes to closing BC Ferries terminals and cutting routes on central Vancouver Island.

Less than 24 hours ago, Stone said he would consider proposals in a BC Ferries report to close terminals in Nanaimo and Horseshoe Bay in favour of rerouting most Nanaimo traffic through the Tsawwassen terminal south of Vancouver.

Stone says the Nanaimo-to-Horseshoe Bay route is an iconic British Columbia ferry route and it will not be sunk.

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He says lobbying from Liberal caucus members Michelle Stilwell and Don McRae, who are from the Island, convinced him of the importance of preserving the service.

Nanaimo Mayor John Ruttan says he's was flooded with calls and emails from residents who were concerned about the potential terminal closures and service reductions.

Stone says he agrees with many of the reports other recommendations, including converting vessels to operate on liquefied natural gas.

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