Friday, November 7, 2014

Airport Ferry to make a Ketchikan run for Spring refit

Prince Rupert's Digby Island
Airport Ferry
Prince Rupert's Digby Island Airport Ferry will be making a day run north in the Spring of 2015, as Prince Rupert City Council approved a contract award to the Alaska Ship and Drydock facility in Ketchikan.

The open tender bid, resulted in three bids being received by the City. With the Alaska numbers coming in the lowest with an estimated cost of the refit to be 458,000 dollars, a 30,000 dollar saving from the next lowest bid.

Councillor Joy Thorkelson offered up a few inquiries regarding the two British Columbia based bids, one in Vancouver the other on Vancouver Island, wondering if the Canadian yards had provided for a competitive application.

The 30,000 dollars savings, combined with the proximity of the Alaska Marine yard to Prince Rupert, appears to have sealed the deal for the City.

Through discussion at Monday evening's session, Council agreed for the most part that with transit time to consider, as well as the down time required for the refit of the Digby Island Ferry, the decision to use the Ketchikan yard was seen by most of Council as a sensible decision.

Councillor Garon stated how she thought it was a good move to do business with Prince Rupert's sister city to the north, making note of the reduced travel time, which would see the ferry returned to service sooner.  She also observed that some on Council were familiar with the Alaska yard from past visits to Ketchikan, suggesting that Alaska facility is a good option for North Coast residents.

Alaska Ship and Drydock Facility
Ketchikan Alaska
Councillor Cunningham also spoke in favour of the awarding of the contract to the Ketchikan yard, stating that the decision to use the Alaska option was in his opinion, "a no brainer".

Councillor Ashley had a pair of questions for staff regarding the status of the Airport Ferry, first  asking  for an explanation as to what replacement option will be in place during refit.

City Manager Robert Long advised that staff was still working on that issue.

Councillor Ashley then asked if there was an added cost to the City with the use of the alternative transportation that will be required.

Mr. Long advised that there is an added cost while the ferry is in refit, an answer that seemed to resolve the issue for her, as she then observed that it made sense to use the Ketchikan option, as it returns the ferry to service sooner.

The vessel refit project will take place sometime in the Spring of 2015, though a firm date has yet to be set regarding the refit project.

You can review the recommendation to Council from page twelve of Monday night's agenda, more information on the Alaska Ship and Drydock can be found here.

You can review the full discussion from Council from the Video Archive the discussion starts at the 8 minute mark and continues on until the 12 minute point.

A full review of the November 3rd Council session can be found on our Timeline feature.

For more items related to City Council discussions see our archive page here.

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