INUVIK (June 11, 2013) – Residents of Fort McPherson, Tsiigehtchic and Inuvik will see greater energy security and reduced costs for businesses following a decision to extend fall ferry services in the Beaufort Delta.
Beginning this October, the Abraham Francis ferry, which crosses the Peel River, and the Louis Cardinal Ferry, which crosses the Mackenzie River, will for the first time operate past the fall freeze-up period. The objective of the extended service is to maintain operations until ice crossings are in place that can support commercial traffic. Short term disruptions in service can still be expected.
MLA for Mackenzie Delta Frederick Blake Jr. welcomed the news, “every fall, the cost of living in our communities along the Dempster is affected by the outage of ferry service. This is going to mean a lot for the residents of those communities as they can expect improved access to fresh food and more timely deliveries.”
MLA for Inuvik Boot Lake Alfred Moses said his community will benefit from the extended service, “Inuvik needs solutions for its energy security needs. This decision will provide that security while reducing the cost of living for all residents.”
Minister Robert C. McLeod, MLA for Inuvik Twin Lakes, was pleased that road access to and from Inuvik will be greatly improved because of the extended ferry season. “The ability to drive out of the community and for goods to come in during the period before ice crossings are in place will improve the quality of life for all our residents. Our economy will also be strengthened as businesses become more competitive.”
Transportation Minister David Ramsay says the decision is good news for the people of Inuvik in particular. “With dwindling natural gas supplies in Inuvik, a way had to be found to truck in energy supplies to the community without incurring large costs for storage. The Department of Transportation has experience in winter-period operations at Fort Providence, and is able to apply that knowledge to meet this need.”
The annual cost of the extended ferry service is expected to be $1.4 million plus a one-time upgrading cost for the Louis Cardinal ferry of $400,000.
The benefits to Beaufort Delta residents include:
- Reduced costs to merchants to stock up for the fall road outage;
- Reduced spoilage for fresh produce and dairy;
- Reduced isolation for residents of the Beaufort Delta;
- Reduced costs for power generation in Inuvik;
- Elimination of the need to spend $15 million on storage capacity in Inuvik; and
- Greater energy security for the residents of Inuvik
The decision to extend fall ferry service on the Dempster Highway helps meet the priority of the 17th Assembly to strengthen and diversify the economy of the Northwest Territories by providing improved energy security and reducing the cost of living for residents of the Beaufort Delta.
For more information:
Manager of Public Affairs and Communications
Department of Transportation