Local group Waterbridge Steel has been awarded a $27.9-million contract to design and build four new cable ferries for the province’s inland fleet.
“It was a nice bit of news we received today,” said John Harding CEO and president of the Waterbridge Group. “I was very happy with that, and we’re looking forward to a good, long project here.”
To get the contract the company had to go through a request for qualified bidders. They had to qualify as a bidder to be able to receive the request for proposals. That was a preliminary round, which entailed about 300-400 pages of paperwork to submit.
Waterbridge Steel qualified as one of two bidders, and then had to respond to the request for proposals, which was around 400-500 pages that had to be sumbmitted.
The new ferries, to be built at Nakusp, will serve the communities of Glade and Harrop on the Kootenay River, Arrow Park on Arrow Lake, and the Adams Lake Indian Band and other residents on Adams Lake.
“These four new cable ferries will ensure this service can continue uninterrupted for residents, visitors, and commercial and industrial users,” said Transportation and Infrastructure Minister Todd Stone in a news release.
The existing vessels have now reached the end of their working life, the ministry said. Some have been serving these communities since the 1940s.
Nakusp’s mayor, Karen Hamling, is very excited about the opportunity for the local business.
“I think it’s wonderful,” she said. “It will be great for the community. It will provide jobs, it will be an economic boost for the people who do have to come in from outside to help with this project.”
“Everyone at Waterbridge Steel and its sister companies, Waterbridge Ferries and Waterbridge Equipment, are very excited by this new project,” said Harding. “These new cable ferries are important for everyone who relies on our inland ferry service. It’s also particularly good news for employees in our operations division, who will soon have new ferries to operate on Adams and Arrow Lake.”
Harbour Cruises Ltd. of Vancouver was the other company shortlisted to bid on the project. Waterbridge also built the new MV Columbia in Nakusp, which now plies between Galena Bay and Shelter Bay on Upper Arrow Lake.
The four cable ferries to be replaced carried approximately 482,000 vehicles and 685,000 passengers last year.
The project will generate employment for approximately 30 people over four years, with the majority of work taking place inNakusp.
It is expected that the first of the new vessels will be delivered in early 2017, with all new vessels scheduled to be in service by the end of 2019.