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Work continues on Kootenay Lake Ferry Service Improvements Project

The photo from one of the holes at the Balfour Golf Course, shows the removal of the steep slope along Highway 3A currently underway to support the realignment of the Upper Balfour Road and Busk Road intersection. — The Nelson Daily photo

Crews have been busy during the spring working on the Kootenay Lake Ferry Service Improvement project that will see upgrades to the Balfour and Kootenay Lake Terminals as well as the replacement of the M.V. Balfour with a new 55-car vessel in 2023.

In its July 2021 update, the Kootenay Lake Ferry Service Improvements Project Team released new information about the vessel assembly yard in Nelson and terminal improvements.

“Over the past few months, site preparation has been underway to convert the lakeside lot in Nelson. B.C. into a temporary shipyard where the new electric-ready vessel will be assembled,” said the Kootenay Lake Ferry Service Improvements Project Team.

“This summer, Western Pacific Marine Ltd. will begin fabricating the first modules of the new vessel.

“These modules will then be transported to site for assembly.”

The temporary shipyard is located on the waterfront on the east side of the Heritage City next to the former Kootenay Forest Products Peco lift.

Meanwhile, the bulk of the work by construction crews has been completed at the Balfour Terminal, where crews have removed the steep slope next to the landing to safely realign Upper Balfour Road.

"Thanks to public input, the realignment will help improve safety and traffic flow at the Upper Balfour Road and Busk Road intersection,” the Kootenay Lake Ferry Service Improvements Project Team said.

Construction crews have now excavated land next to the landing for the new washroom building at the Balfour Terminal.

“With the increase of travel this summer, and as more people explore B.C., please remember to be safe and respectful,” the Kootenay Lake Ferry Service Improvements Project Teamsaid.

“Health and safety measures continue to be in place to help keep other ferry users and our crew safe.”

Site preparation activities, such as the building of this shelter, are underway at the assembly yard on the  Nelson waterfront. — BC Government Photo

BACKGROUND

In 2016 and 2018, the Province consulted with ferry users, area residents, and businesses about proposed improvements to the service, safety, and infrastructure of the Kootenay Lake Ferry. The Province made key changes to the final project plan after considering the input received, along with technical, environmental, and financial considerations. Some of these considerations were documented in the 2018 Consideration Memo.

In April 2019, the Province, with funding support from the Government of Canada, announced safety and efficiency improvements to the Kootenay Lake Ferry Service.

The project involves the procurement of a new right-sized electric-ready vessel, safety and amenity improvements to both the Balfour and Kootenay Bay terminals, and now-completed minor dredging in the west arm of Kootenay Lake.

Collectively, these improvements will provide ferry users with a safer and more reliable ferry service as well as contribute to the Province’s goal of employing electric propulsion on all inland ferries by 2040.

For more information about the Kootenay Lake Ferry Service Improvements, please visit gov.bc.ca/kootenaylakeferryproject.

Excavation for the new washroom building in the Balfour terminal currently underway. — BC Government Photo