A former Nelson-Creston MLA says the notion of moving the Balfour ferry terminal to Queens Bay was “discussed frequently” during his time in office. Corky Evans served from 1991-2001 and 2005-09, including a stint as transportation minister.
“The idea was to move it up the lake away from the narrows, which would shorten the [crossing] distance and lessen the fuel consumption,” Evans said. “It would also get the ferry and the little fish boats that are always alongside out of competition.”
However, Evans said the downside was the greater effect of wind, tide, and waves on the ferry’s superstructure, making it harder for the ship to land gently.
“The piece of property the ministry was talking about was just around the point from where you start into the narrows,” he said. “That’s the open lake where the wind is blowing practically from Creston.”
The Ministry of Transportation recently confirmed it’s in the early stages of looking into the feasibility of moving the Balfour terminal, but no alternate locations have been identified and no decisions have been made.
It’s understood the study is being done before expensive upgrades are performed to the Balfour dock. Evans says previous discussions, which took place while he was in cabinet, were mainly predicated on saving money.
However, “it didn’t get anywhere. I think it was proposed by some part of the ministry as a fuel saving device and rejected by the people who actually operated the ferry as problematic. It didn’t get up as far as a ministerial decision.”
Evans was influential in the construction of the Osprey 2000, which he called “a bit of a miracle.” At a storytelling event a few years ago, he revealed the idea for the new ferry came from his mentor, the late Bob Cunningham of Crescent Valley.
The Osprey replaced the MV Anscomb, launched in 1947.