Residents of Glade will soon be riding across the Kootenay River on a new vessel, after residents watched as Glade II was launched into the water Monday near the tiny community, located off Highway 3A between Castlegar and Nelson.
Claire Trevena, Minister of Transportation and Infrastructure, said in a media release, Glade II, the new, built-in-B.C. cable ferry is undergoing final testing on site and should be put into service the beginning of February.
"This new, state-of-the-art ferry gives West Kootenay residents the comfort of knowing they can get groceries, attend medical appointments and access other important services when they need to," Trevena said in the media release Tuesday.
"This ferry will not only help residents get from A to B, but will also ensure a safe, reliable and efficient crossing of the Kootenay River for many years to come."
The Ministry said in addition to the new ferry for Glade, other cable ferries are being constructed to replace aging vessels serving the community of Harrop, on the Kootenay River, and Arrow Park, on Arrow Lake.
A new cable ferry to serve Adams Lake went into service in spring 2017.
The Glade II, as well as other vessels in Harrop and Arrow Park, is larger and is able to carry more vehicles than the existing ferries.
The new ferries have an increased capacity to handle commercial vehicles at full highway loads.
While the ferries are docked during off-peak hours, power will be supplied by on-board batteries. This will reduce noise at the terminal, and lower the vessels' greenhouse gas emissions.
"West Kootenay residents have been eagerly awaiting the completion of these new ferries to better connect communities across the region and facilitate day-to-day travel," said Katrine Conroy, MLA for Kootenay West in the release.
"It's exciting to see Glade II come online to better serve Glade residents, and I look forward to the completion of the remaining two ferries that will service Harrop and Arrow Park over the coming year."
In 2016, Waterbridge Steel of Nakusp was awarded a $27.9-million contract to design and build four new cable ferries. All new vessels are scheduled to be in service by the end of 2019. The project is generating employment for approximately 30 people over four years, with the majority of work taking place in Nakusp.
- There are 14 inland-ferry routes in B.C. that are operated for the Province of B.C. under contract.
- Five of the routes are served by cable ferries, five are reaction ferries (propelled by river current), three use free-running ferries and one is served by a tug and barge.
- Last fiscal year, the province's inland ferries carried approximately 1.5 million vehicles and almost 2.4 million passengers.
- The Glade cable ferry carried more than 141,000 vehicles and more than 191,000 passengers last fiscal year.