Balfour ferry terminal likely to stay put

A statement from the Ministry of Transportation cited strong public backlash to the ferry's relocation.

The Balfour ferry terminal will likely stay where it is according to the Ministry of Transportation.

The ferry terminal in Balfour is probably staying where it is.

Public outcry over a 2012 consultant’s report that suggested moving the terminal to the north side of Queens Bay means the provincial government will refocus on improving the current terminal instead of relocating it.

“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 Transportation and Infrastructure Minister Todd Stone in a statement Thursday.

“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.”

Stone’s statement added several issues remain at the terminals current location, including a narrow channel, shallow lake bed, and safety improvements to highway and ferry traffic. The MV Balfour will also require a replacement to maintain service levels, according to the statement.

A report by engineering firm SNC-Lavalin released in June concluded relocating the terminal to the Queens Bay site would cost $25 million compared to the nearly $40 million required to upgrade Balfour and build a new ferry.

The ferry terminal has been running from Balfour since 1947. It’s current route is nine kilometres to the eastern terminal at Kootenay Bay, as opposed to the proposed 5.4-km route from Queens Bay.

The ministry’s statement said it received more than 2,600 online and mailed submissions during public consultation from June 15 to Oct. 6. It added a summary of the consultation would be released this fall.

Opponents of the move have been vocal since news of the ferry’s potential relocation was made public in 2014.

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