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Ferry Commissioner approves Denman Island cable ferry

The BC Ferry Commissioner has granted approval to BC Ferries for a capital expenditure for a new cable ferry to operate between Buckley Bay on Vancouver Island and Denman Island projected to save $2 million each year.

The order issued today by Commissioner Gord Macatee comes with five conditions including a requirement that BC Ferries have a plan to mitigate the impact of a service disruption resulting from a mechanical breakdown.

The commissioner made the order following an application from BC Ferries submitted on Dec. 20, 2013, for approval of a major capital expenditure for the new cable ferry and its associated infrastructure. Under the Coastal Ferry Act, a ferry operator must not incur a major capital expenditure without first obtaining the commissioner's approval.

The proposal was evaluated using criteria outlined in the Coastal Ferry Act. The commissioner concluded the proposal was "reasonable, prudent, and consistent with the current Coastal Ferry Services Contract, and the long-term capital plan established by BC Ferries."

As part of the BC Ferries application review, the commissioner engaged independent experts to confirm both the design and financial analysis. A technical review by a naval architect concluded that the design of the proposed cable ferry is sound and the vessel will be as reliable as the existing vessel to operate on the proposed route.

The commissioner encouraged members of the public to provide comments on BC Ferries' proposal. The commissioner received 67 submissions which were considered as part of the review process.

"I'm satisfied that a new cable ferry will meet the needs of local residents and contribute to the sustainability of B.C.'s ferry system. The decision to approve the cable ferry was made with the interests of all ferry users and taxpayers in mind," says Gord Macatee, BC Ferry Commissioner.

"The cable ferry is less expensive to operate and therefore will reduce pressure on future price caps. Also, I am satisfied it will be as reliable as the existing vessel on route 21. It is an innovative project that draws on world-wide expertise."

— BC Ferry Commission

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