GLADE — The new Glade ferry will be assembled in Glade Regional Park and is expected to be complete by the end of November.
The final decision regarding where to assemble the ferry was made following a meeting of the Regional District of Central Kootenay (RDCK) board on Aug. 17, when it agreed to have the assembly take place in Glade Regional Park, subject to conditions.
“The conditions were that there be a remediation plan, that our temporary industrial use permit process conditions be adhered to. There were conditions with respect to consultation with adjacent property owners and there was a request for a legacy project at Glade Regional Park or wherever the community agreed would work,” explained Andy Davidoff, director of Area I, which includes Glade.
The decision was somewhat controversial, as Glade residents had decided by vote at a public meeting that the ferry should be assembled at Glade’s North Beach, rather than in the regional park, which is located beside the ferry landing.
But circumstances led the Ministry of Transportation and Infrastructure — which is in charge of the Glade Ferry Project — to favour the regional park.
The foreshore for both sites is owned by Brilliant Power Corporation (BPC), which is a joint venture of Columbia Power Corporation and the Columbia Basin Trust. So the ministry would need to enter into a temporary license with BPC to work on either site, as it did when constructing the new landing adjacent to Glade Regional Park. (That same license has now been amended to include the ferry assembly.)
But Columbia Power “advised MOTI that the North Beach location would require environmental and archaeological studies along with First Nations and community consultations for a permit application. The pre-application process would take time to complete and achieving a permit would still not be certain,” according to a representative.
Instead the RDCK board — which acts as a steward for the Glade Regional Park — was asked to send a letter of consent to Columbia Power to have the assembly done there.
“I appreciate that this was an awkward situation and basically everyone had to make decisions in a expedited manner and that of course leads to differences of opinion,” said Davidoff.
Asked why Glade residents were given a choice if one of the sites was not appropriate for the project, the Ministry of Transportation and Infrastructure replied: “Residents who rely on the Glade ferry will soon have a new, replacement ferry expected to be in service later this fall. The cable ferry is being built in Nakusp and will be assembled in the Glade Regional Park.”
“The builder of the vessel, Waterbridge Steel Inc., held an information meeting and outlined the two sites that it had looked at to assemble the vessel. The builder indicated that the park site was more suitable given the schedule to bring the new vessel into service and the uncertainties about the ability to get approval to use the site on the north beach. Waterbridge Steel Inc. was able to reach an agreement with the leaseholder of the land, the Regional District of Central Kootenay, to assemble the vessel on their park lands.”
John Harding, president and owner of Waterbridge Steel in Nakusp — the company building the ferry — anticipates that the assembly will be completed by the end of November.
“We’ll be actually mobilizing next week to move some auxiliary equipment down to the site and then the following week we’ll be starting to move ferry modules down there,” Harding said last Thursday.
Harding also said that the Ministry of Transportation has asked Waterbridge Steel for a quote to disassemble the old ferry.
“They’ve asked us to give them a quote to make it happen as soon as the new ferry is in service,” he said.
In the event that Waterbridge Steel is chosen to disassemble the old ferry, Harding said as little as possible would be done in Glade Regional Park.
“Cut it into chunks big enough to put on trucks and haul it away so that we do less of the heavy work down there,” he said.
For his part, Davidoff was glad to see that a plan for dismantling the ferry was moving forward.
In response to the conditions introduced by the RDCK, Harding was unfazed.
“[They] were nothing new to us. They were all items that we were having to provide and had already told everybody we would be providing before that meeting, so it didn’t come as a surprise to us,” he said.