Kootenay residents and local shipyards will benefit from the construction of a new electric-ready ferry for Kootenay Lake that will have twice the capacity of the MV Balfour.
Following a request for qualifications, three B.C. firms have been shortlisted for the project to design and build the new ferry. The firms include:
• Allied Shipbuilders Ltd. of North Vancouver
• Waterbridge Steel Inc. of Nakusp
• Western Pacific Marine Ltd. of Vancouver
With a successful proposal, work on the new ferry is expected to begin in 2020, and will be ready for service by the end of 2022. The new vessel will replace the MV Balfour, which will be retired from service after more than 65 years.
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.
Along with upgrades to Balfour and Kootenay Bay terminals, and minor dredging in the West Arm, the new vessel will improve the safety, reliability and efficiency of the Kootenay Lake Ferry service, the ministry said.
The request for proposals process is underway and will close in early 2020.