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Ferry terminal to remain in Balfour

The Ministry of Transportation has announced the western terminal of the Kootenay Lake ferry will remain in Balfour.

In a news release today, the ministry said it “will continue to do further work on the community’s preferred option, which is to retain the terminal at Balfour.”

“We presented options to the community, and residents of Balfour and the Queens Bay area overwhelmingly supported the terminal remaining in its present location,” said Transportation and Infrastructure Minister Todd Stone.

“We know there are challenges with keeping the terminal at Balfour. However, as a result of what we heard, we will focus on doing the technical analysis and work to retain the terminal at Balfour, including the potential dredging of the West Arm.”

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The challenges that need to be addressed at the existing terminal include the narrow channel and shallow lakebed, the ministry said. In addition, safety improvements may have to be made at the terminal to eliminate conflicts between highway and ferry traffic. Further, to maintain the current service levels, the second vessel, the MV Balfour, will have to be replaced.

The ministry said it received more than 2,600 online and mailed submissions (survey questionnaires, emails and postcards) during the public consultation between June 15 and Oct. 6. In addition, over 300 people attended the open house at Redfish Elementary school on June 15. A summary of the consultation will be available this fall.

The ministry was trying to decide between moving the ferry terminal to Queens Bay or doing a major upgrade in Balfour. The move was opposed by Queens Bay residents and Balfour business owners, but supported by East Shore residents.

The Balfour ferry terminal has been in place since 1947.

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