The new Kootenay Lake ferry is being built in a dry dock in Nelson. Photo: Bill Metcalfe

The new Kootenay Lake ferry is being built in a dry dock in Nelson. Photo: Bill Metcalfe

New Kootenay Lake ferry completion delayed to 2024

The ferry’s engines are taking longer than expected

The completion date for the new Kootenay Lake ferry has been pushed back from 2023 to 2024, Nelson-Creston MLA Brittny Anderson announced on Aug. 25.

“Unfortunately, the delivery of important components for the new vessel has been affected by global supply chain disruptions, which I’m sure will not come as a surprise to anyone,” she said in Balfour at the opening of the newly renovated Kootenay Lake ferry terminals.

A spokesperson at the Ministry of Transportation and Infrastructure said in an email that the delay is because the ferry’s engines, which are being manufactured overseas, will be delivered later than planned.

The new ferry is under construction at a dry dock on Kootenay Lake in Nelson.

The $63-million, 55-car vessel will replace the MV Balfour, which is one of the two ferries operating on the route between Balfour and Kootenay Bay. The MV Balfour was built in 1954 and is ready for retirement.

The ministry email said the project’s cost projection, announced two years ago, has not changed. The federal government’s contribution to the cost of the ferry and the recently completed terminal upgrades was $17.2 million.

Part of the Kootenay Lake Ferry construction site on the shore of Kootenay Lake in Nelson on Aug. 25. Photo: Bill Metcalfe

Part of the Kootenay Lake Ferry construction site on the shore of Kootenay Lake in Nelson on Aug. 25. Photo: Bill Metcalfe

Anderson said the construction delay will not impact ferry service because the MV Balfour will remain in service until the new ferry replaces it.

The new vessel, which she said would be “electric-ready” when completed, will convert to electric propulsion “soon after entering service.”

Asked for a more specific date on which the conversion to electric will take place, the ministry did not reply.

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