After a challenging summer of wildfires, extreme heat, and the ongoing pandemic, the Kootenay Lake Ferry Services Improvements Project continues to be on track to deliver a safer and more reliable ferry service for users. This Project Update provides progress information about terminal improvements and assembly of the new vessel.


Construction progressed significantly at both the Balfour and Kootenay Bay Terminals this summer and is on track to be completed by the end of 2021.

The majority of night work required at the Balfour Terminal has now been completed. This was done to allow large excavation work to occur safely due to the site’s proximity to the highway and the active ferry service. The Province’s top priority is to ensure the safety of pedestrians, ferry users, highway traffic, and customers visiting businesses at the terminal area. Working at night significantly reduces the risk of harm posed to both workers and the public during certain construction activities.

A few evenings of limited night time activities may still be required to work around weather conditions. Mitigation measures will be in place to reduce the impact of noise, light, and vibration on nearby residents. The Project contractor will limit the use of backup signals and alarms, reduce vibratory settings, adjust lighting angles, and where possible, use machinery as buffers between the active work location and nearby residences. Other terminal progress updates include the installation of new signage and lighting, and completion of the new washroom’s foundation at the Balfour Terminal. At Kootenay Bay, crews recently completed asphalt paving and the installation of new safety signage as well as electric vehicle charging stations

The majority of night work activities at the Balfour terminal are now complete
The foundation of the Balfour Terminal’s new washroom
New electric vehicle charging stations were installed at Kootenay Bay.

Preparation for assembly of the new vessel is nearly complete at the temporary shipyard in Nelson, B.C. Steel has been shipped to the fabrication site, and as the modules arrive over the fall, the ship will begin to take form.
Residents can visit the new public footpath along the assembly yard and watch the vessel come together on the dry dock. The new vessel will replace the MV Balfour when it enters service in 2023.

The ferry service continues to operate as usual during construction. Please obey all road signs, reduce speed, and follow the instructions of flaggers and terminal attendants.

Did you know?
The new Kootenay Lake Ferry vessel will be built electric-ready. That means it will have all the systems, equipment, and components for electric propulsion alongside diesel engines. 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.

A new public footpath runs along the assembly yard, allowing residents to watch the new vessel come together.

In 2016 and 2018, the Province consulted with ferry users, area residents, and businesses about proposed improvements to the service, safety, and infrastructure of the Kootenay Lake Ferry. The Province made key changes to the final project plan after considering the input received, along with technical, environmental, and financial considerations. Some of these considerations were documented in the 2018 Consideration Memo.
In April 2019, the Province, with funding support from the Government of Canada, announced safety and efficiency improvements to the Kootenay Lake Ferry Service.
The project involves the procurement of a new right-sized electric-ready vessel, safety and amenity improvements to both the Balfour and Kootenay Bay terminals, and now-completed minor dredging in the west arm of Kootenay Lake.
Collectively, these improvements will provide ferry users with a safer and more reliable ferry service as well as contribute to the Province’s goal of employing electric propulsion on all inland ferries by 2040.
For more information about the Kootenay Lake Ferry Service Improvements, please visit

2 Responses

  1. You did not consult the real users of the ferry.. the residents of the East Shore. This user group would have encouraged you to move the western terminal to the north end of Queens Bay and reduce the transit time by 50%. The residents of Balfour had no concern about transit time and reliability of service, they just wanted “things to stay the same”… Many bad decisions…

  2. The general public including residents of the east shore are all real users of the Kootenay Lake ferry provincial transportation system and service. Not all East Shore residents thought Queens Bay north was a good or wise choice to relocate the western terminal for a host of reasons. If the residents of Balfour wanted “things to remain the same” and if that was even remotely attainable would the improvements and refit of both ferry terminals be occurring? I look forward to all the terminal improvements coming to an end and a new ferry coming into service. I suspect it will be a welcome change and significant service improvement for the majority of users of the ferry service on both sides of the lake.

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