Sunday, March 23, 2008

B C Ferries begins preparations on Charlottes to receive new Ferry in January

With the new Northern Expedition set to join the BC Ferries fleet for 2009, a few modifications will be required at the Skidegate Terminal site.

To get things underway for the new service, 11.6 million dollars worth of renovations are planned for the Queen Charlotte Island end of the route, the first phase of which is underway until June a dock preparation begin to pick up speed.

The Queen Charlotte Islands Observer featured the details on the renovation schedule and the impact it may have on the traveling public’s schedule. The posted their update on the Observer website on March 21.

Ferries prepares Skidegate Landing for new vessel
Queen Charlotte Islands Observer
March 21, 2008

A gigantic floating crane on a barge will be working at the Skidegate Landing ferry terminal from now until June, doing as much as it can to get the dock ready for BC Ferries' new Northern Expedition ferry.

The Northern Expedition, now under construction in Germany, will be much larger than the Queen of Prince Rupert and the Northern Adventure, said BC Ferries spokesperson Deborah Marshall, and it needs a larger dock.

Much of the $11.6-million worth of renovations for Skidegate won't be done until January, Ms Marshall said. At that point, the dock will be closed for a month and the islands will have no ferry service.

But for the next three months, the floating crane will be doing everything it can in advance of the dock closure - work like installing two new dolphins and improvements to the portion of the ramp which rests on the shore.

The Northern Expedition will be 150 metres long, substantially larger than the Northern Adventure's 117-metre length. Both ferries will be able to carry up to 600 passengers, but the Northern Expedition will carry 130 average-sized cars, compared to 101 on the Northern Adventure.

Ms Marshall said BC Ferries is still working on a plan to provide service to the Charlottes in January when the dock will be closed.

Meanwhile, Skidegate Landing resident Lindsey Doerksen said the work is a little bit noisy but not at all bothersome.

"They're driving piles right now but it's a job that's got to be done," he said. "They've got a lot of work to do."

Mr. Doerksen said whenever he hears someone complain about the ferry - its noise or its schedule or how much it rolls - he remembers the days when the islands had only a tug and barge service.
"If you want the ferry, it comes at a price," he said.

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