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Minister of Transportation and Infrastructure announces Balfour Ferry Terminal to stay

Nelson Daily Staff
By Nelson Daily Staff
November 4th, 2016

The Balfour Ferry Terminal will remain, in Balfour.

Minister of Transportation and Infrastructure, Todd Stone made the announcement Thursday in a media release on the government website.

Stone said in the release the decision came following the close of consultation on the future of the Balfour inland ferry terminal.

He added MOTI officials will continue to do further work on the community’s preferred option, which is to retain the terminal at Balfour.

“We presented options to the community, and residents of Balfour and the Queens Bay area overwhelmingly supported the terminal remaining in its present location,” said Stone.

“We know there are challenges with keeping the terminal at Balfour. However, as a result of what we heard, we will focus on doing the technical analysis and work to retain the terminal at Balfour, including the potential dredging of the west arm.”

MOTI officials held an open house at Redfish School on the North Shore in June proposing a move of the Balfour Terminal to a location in Queen’s Bay.

MOTI identified increasingly shallow waters in the West Arm of Kootenay Lake leading to pitting of the hull on the MV Osprey; an increase in pleasure boat traffic, particularly during summer, makes navigating the narrow channel a concern for captains; and a need to replace the MV Balfour, which has been in operation since 1947 — a cost pegged at approximately $30 Million — as some of the concerns.

The ministry received more than 2,600 online and mailed submissions (survey questionnaires, emails and postcards) during the public consultation, held between June 15 and Oct. 6, 2016.

In addition, over 300 people attended the open house at Redfish Elementary school on June 15.

Members of the public from communities surrounding Kootenay Lake, business operators in Balfour, Queens Bay residents, local public-safety and community organizations all took the opportunity to express their views, including the Queens Bay Residents Association.

The newly formed Queens Bay Residents Association submitted a 12-page document that the SNC-Lavalin study inadequate, biased and unfit to base a decision to move the ferry terminal to Queens Bay.

The Kootenay Lake Ferry currently operates between Balfour on the west side and Kootenay Bay on the east side.

The distance is about nine kilometres, with a crossing time of about 35 minutes.

The MV Osprey provides year round service with the MV Balfour supplementing summer service. The Balfour ferry terminal has been in place since 1947.

The Government of British Columbia invests approximately $29 million annually into operation of its 14 inland ferry routes.

This post was syndicated from https://thenelsondaily.com
Categories: General

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