Kenneth Chan Apr 29, 2019 6:40 pm – Daily Hive
A ferry route operating in a freshwater lake deep in the Interior of British Columbia is getting a complete overhaul.
The federal and provincial governments announced today a joint $55-million investment to provide the Kootenay Lake ferry service with a new larger electric-ready vessel with the capability to handle up to 60 vehicles. It will be used in tandem with the larger MV Osprey 2000 to significantly lower wait times during the peak travel seasons.
The use of a new electric-ready vessel aligns with the provincial government’s CleanBC plan of electrifying the inland ferry fleet by 2040. This new vessel will replace the existing MV Balfour beginning in 2022.
Additionally, the investment will also go towards major upgrades to the route’s Balfour and Kootenway Bay terminals, such as new washrooms, sheltered waiting areas, public parking spaces, and better terminal access for drivers along both Highway 31 and Highway 3A.
Artistic rendering of the upgraded Kootenay Lake ferry terminal. (Government of BC)
The federal government is providing $17.2 million in funding, while the provincial government is contributing $37.5 million.
Separate from BC Ferries, the Kootenay Lake ferry route is operated by the BC Ministry of Transportation and is a free service without any fares or tolls.
According to the Kootenay Lake Chamber of Commerce, it is the world’s longest scenic free ferry crossing.
Kootenay Lake, one of the largest lakes in BC, located near the town of Nelson, is a popular summertime tourist destination.