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Kootenay Lake Ferry terminal improvements to begin

Improvements to the Kootenay Lake Ferry terminals, including the location in Balfour, are expected to begin in the next few weeks.

Work to upgrade the Kootenay Lake Ferry terminals begins in the coming weeks, with improved amenities, more parking and better access for people who rely on the ferries.

Construction on the new electric-ready ferry for the crossing will begin this summer.

"The Kootenay Lake Ferry Service improvements are good news for users and will have a positive impact on all nearby communities," said Patrick Weiler, MP for West Vancouver-Sunshine Coast-Sea to Sky Country on behalf of Catherine McKenna, federal Minister of Infrastructure and Communities.

"The addition of electric-vehicle charging stations, as well as the promise of a new electric-ready vessel by 2023 will encourage users to opt for cleaner, lower carbon vehicles in the years ahead. Canada's infrastructure plan invests in thousands of projects, creates jobs across the country and builds cleaner, more inclusive communities."

Rob Fleming, B.C.'s Minister of Transportation and Infrastructure, said covered waiting areas, improved lighting, nicer greenspaces and changes to make facilities more accessible are some of the upgrades coming to the Kootenay Lake Ferry.

"These terminal upgrades will dramatically improve the crossing for area residents and for people travelling through the region," Fleming said.

At Kootenay Bay, the ferry terminal's existing washroom facility will be upgraded to make it more accessible. The terminal will get electric-vehicle charging stations, better lighting and parking improvements.

At the Balfour Terminal, the vehicle queue capacity will be significantly increased, a new washroom facility will be built and a transit shelter will be added.

Improvements will be made to Highway 31/3A, along with the realignment of the intersection at Upper Balfour Road and Busk Road, to improve safety and traffic flow within the community.

Sidewalks and lighting will also improve connections between the terminal, the new transit stop and the highway.

At both terminals, new terminal attendant stations will be added to provide ferry information and directions, new sheltered waiting areas will be added for walk-on passengers, and those waiting for the ferry will enjoy updated greenspace and amenities.

A $5.54-million contract has been awarded to Marwest Industries Ltd. of Castlegar for the terminal upgrades. Site preparations began this winter. Terminal work will begin in the coming weeks, with completion expected by the end of 2021.

The ferry service is expected to operate as usual during construction. For everyone's safety, ferry users are reminded to follow the direction of all traffic control personnel and signage.

Health and safety measures are in effect to prevent the spread of COVID-19. People are reminded to obey all measures and guidelines to help keep other ferry users and the crew safe.

Construction of the new Balfour electric ferry is expected to begin this summer on the Nelson landing site in Lower Fairview.

In Nelson, construction of the new electric-ready vessel will get underway this summer at Western Pacific Marine's site near the former Kootenay Forest Products mill site in lower Fairview.

Several residents in the area of the new ferry construction expressed concerns to Nelson City Council over the site location.

The vessel is expected to enter service in early 2023. The new vessel will more than double the capacity of the MV Balfour, which it will replace.

The Kootenay Lake Ferry Service Improvements project is funded by the Province of B.C. with a contribution from the Government of Canada through the New Building Canada Fund's Provincial-Territorial Infrastructure Component-National and Regional Projects.

Learn More:

More information on the project, including near final designs for both terminals can be seen here: www.gov.bc.ca/kootenaylakeferryproject