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Posted: April 10, 2021

Kootenay Lake Ferry terminal improvements begin

Work to upgrade the Kootenay Lake Ferry terminals begins in the coming weeks, with improved amenities, more parking and better access for people who rely on the ferries.

Construction on the new electric-ready ferry for the crossing will begin this summer.

At Kootenay Bay, the ferry terminal’s existing washroom facility will be upgraded to make it more accessible. The terminal will get electric-vehicle charging stations, better lighting and parking improvements.


At the Balfour Terminal, the vehicle queue capacity will be significantly increased, a new washroom facility will be built and a transit shelter will be added. Improvements will be made to Highway 31/3A, along with the realignment of the intersection at Upper Balfour Road and Busk Road, to improve safety and traffic flow within the community.

Sidewalks and lighting will also improve connections between the terminal, the new transit stop and the highway.

At both terminals, new terminal attendant stations will be added to provide ferry information and directions, new sheltered waiting areas will be added for walk-on passengers, and those waiting for the ferry will enjoy updated greenspace and amenities.

“Covered waiting areas, improved lighting, nicer greenspaces and changes to make facilities more accessible are some of the upgrades coming to the Kootenay Lake Ferry. These terminal upgrades will dramatically improve the crossing for area residents and for people travelling through the region,” said Rob Fleming, B.C.’s Minister of Transportation and Infrastructure.

A $5.54-million contract has been awarded to Marwest Industries Ltd. of Castlegar for the terminal upgrades. Site preparations began this winter. Terminal work will begin in the coming weeks, with completion expected by the end of 2021.

The ferry service is expected to operate as usual during construction. For everyone’s safety, ferry users are reminded to follow the direction of all traffic control personnel and signage.

Health and safety measures are in effect to prevent the spread of COVID-19.

People are reminded to obey all measures and guidelines to help keep other ferry users and the crew safe.

In Nelson, construction of the new electric-ready vessel will get underway this summer at Western Pacific Marine’s site. The vessel is expected to enter service in early 2023. The new vessel will more than double the capacity of the MV Balfour, which it will replace.

The Kootenay Lake Ferry Service Improvements project is funded by the Province of B.C. with a contribution from the Government of Canada through the New Building Canada Fund’s Provincial-Territorial Infrastructure Component-National and Regional Projects.

More information on the project, including near final designs for both terminals can be seen here.

Lead image: An artist’s rendering of the improvements coming to the Kootenay Bay Ferry terminal.  Ministry of Transportation and Infrastructure image


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