Following the B.C. government’s recent announcement that the Kootenay Lake Ferry will probably stay in Balfour and not move to Queens Bay, a consultant’s report has been released outlining the economic effects on Balfour of the proposed move.
The report was commissioned in the summer by the Queen’s Bay Residents Association and funded by the Regional District of Central Kootenay.
It was conducted by Peak Solutions Consulting Ltd. of Kamloops.
The report breaks the effects of the proposed move down into three categories: ferry operations, construction phase, and local/visitor spending.
Moving the ferry terminal would mean a 10 per cent reduction in hours of work in the ferry operation itself and an eight per cent decline in employment income on the ferries, according to the report.
Keeping the ferry in Balfour would mean construction costs of $36– to $40-million, mostly to construct a new ferry, with 230 to 260 direct jobs, the report says. The cost of building a new ferry terminal at Queens Bay (but not building a new ferry) would be about $18.7 to $31.2 million, with about 60 to 100 direct jobs.
So a move to Queens Bay would mean net lower construction costs of $9 to $18 million.
As for local and visitor spending, gross business sales in Balfour would go down by about 35 per cent, according to the report.
The labour force would be reduced by about one third, and employment income would decline by about 60 per cent.
The effects of the move on residents and businesses on the East Shore was not part of the report’s mandate.
The report is attached below.