The new Kootenay Lake ferry will not be in service until 2025, according to a news release from the Ministry of Transportation and Infrastructure.
The 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 delivery of the new vessel is delayed due to various challenges arising from the pandemic, global supply chain issues and the impacts of geopolitical events,” the news release states.
“Outfitting of the mechanical, electrical, and control systems and interior components will continue throughout this year and into next, followed by sea trials before completion of the vessel at the end of 2024.”
Despite the delay, the initial budget of $63 million has not changed, according to the ministry.
Asked how this could be possible, given supply chain issues, inflation, and a longer time-frame of labour costs, a ministry spokesperson did not respond to those issues directly, only stating only that “the contract is a design-build with a fixed price. Any change to the project budget would be reflected in future project updates.”
Design-build is a method of construction in which the designer and builder work together under a single contract, thus giving the owner only one entity to deal with.
The ministry says the new ferry will be electric-ready.
“By 2030, once shore power is in place and the technology has been tested for reliable daily use, a full conversion will be made from diesel to electric propulsion,” the news release states.