Water levels are up substantially in Tobermory and South Baymouth -- giving hope that the Chi Cheemaun may set sail in time for the May holiday weekend.
Bayshore Broadcasting News has learned the water levels have jumped about 25 centimetres since last Friday.
But the Owen Sound Transportation Company wants to wait to find out if that is just a blip on the radar, or if the levels will remain the same.
General Manager Susan Schrempf tells us the wind direction on the weekend may have played a factor in the rising water levels.
Schrempf says the Chi Cheemaun will be able to stay in operation even when the fender modification work is being done.
Riggs Engineering has been hired to complete the detailed design work for the project, estimated at nearly 300 thousand dollars.
Schrempf says the tender process will likely begin on Tuesday, and she hopes to award the contract on Friday.
Schrempf adds how long it will take a contractor to complete the job will be a factor in the selection process.
The Ministry of Northern Development and Mines has estimated the process will take 6 to 8 weeks, but Schrempf says that is a worst case scenario.
Schrempf also says a temporary fix will not work because the Chi Cheemaun is such a large vessel -- and she says they do not want a safety risk.
MPP Bill Walker had suggested the province should look at a temporary solution to get the Big Canoe ferrying people from Tobermory to South Baymouth.
Riggs Engineering was hired by the Owen Sound Transportation Company to complete the design since it did preliminary work on the fenders last year for Transport Canada.
That report indicated the fenders were inadequate for the current water levels.