Several important milestones were reached during 2019, and work continues throughout 2020 to improve the Kootenay Lake Ferry Service.
Work on a new ferry is expected to begin in 2020, with the new vessel ready for service by the end of 2022.
The new ferry will replace the MV Balfour, which will be retired from service. The procurement process is well underway. After the Request for Qualifications completed in 2019, three B.C. firms qualified to shortlist for the Request for Proposals.
Shortlisted respondents have until April 1 to submit their proposals. Following contract award, design and construction on the new vessel will begin.The proposed new vessel will be able to accommodate between 50 and 60 vehicles. It will be used in tandem with the larger MV Osprey 2000 to significantly decrease sailing waits during the busy summer season.
As part of CleanBC, the province is working to electrify the inland ferry fleet by 2040 and towards this goal, the new vessel will be configured as a hybrid diesel-electric with all the systems, equipment and components for electric propulsion. The vessel will be fully converted to electric propulsion by 2030, once shore power is installed and the technology is reliable enough to use on a daily basis.
Dredging work was successfully completed in three shallow areas of the West Arm of Kootenay Lake in the fall of 2019. This necessary work was performed to ensure the long-term navigational safety of the Kootenay Lake Ferry Service. Work was completed in compliance with all applicable environmental regulations and with minimal impact to the environment and habitat. Now that dredging is complete, MV Osprey 2000 has improved capacity to safely navigate the West Arm at all times of year.
In 2019, the province completed required geotechnical investigations, archeological impact work, and other assessments to support design and planning of terminal improvements for both Kootenay Bay and Balfour terminals.
In 2020 we continue the ongoing terminal design and environmental approvals, and look forward to beginning work on some of the planned improvements at both terminals.
Some of these planned improvements include: upgrades to washroom facilities, new sheltered waiting areas, EV charging stations and green space improvements.