New inland ferry to be built in Nakusp

The new ferry that will run between Shelter Bay and Galena Bay is to be built in Nakusp by WaterBridge Steel Inc.

The new ferry that will run between Shelter Bay and Galena Bay is to be built in Nakusp by WaterBridge Steel Inc.

The government of British Columbia has awarded a $26.5-million contract to WaterBridge Steel Inc. of Prince George to construct a new ferry for the 30-minute crossing between Shelter Bay and Galena Bay. It will be built in Nakusp, and provide employment opportunities for approximately 65 people for up to two years.

“It is great news that the new ferry will be constructed in the Village of Nakusp. A project of this size will have a positive effect on our local economy,” said Nakusp mayor Karen Hamling, “This will provide our businesses and residents the opportunity to showcase our spectacular scenery and unlimited recreational activities.”

A drive-on, drive-off, open-decked vessel, it will be capable of transporting 80 cars and 250 passengers.

Due to the ferry’s larger vehicle and weight capacity, faster loading and unloading times are projected, which eliminates the need for an auxiliary ferry during the peak travel season, said Kate Trotter from the Ministry of Transportation and Infrastructure.

Construction of a new ferry for the Upper Arrow Lake route will create local employment and ensure that this safe and reliable transportation service continues for West Kootenay families, businesses and visitors, the Ministry rep said.

WaterBridge Steel Inc. is owned by John Harding, who has been in the business of designing, building and operating car/truck/passenger ferries for British Columbia lakes since 1976. He was responsible for the construction and operation of the largest freight-carrying ice-breaker in the world when it went in to service on Williston Lake in 1995. The company also constructed the 2004 Francois Forester, which provides ferry service under contract with the Ministry of Transportation and Infrastructure on Francois Lake.

The Arrow Lakes News will continue to update this story over the coming days.