The Big Canoe will set sail this long weekend.
After numerous delays -- all stemming from low water levels -- the Owen Sound Transportation Company has announced the Chi Cheemaun will resume service this Friday.
General Manager Susan Schrempf says they had a look at the long range forecast and felt confident water levels will remain at current levels.
Water levels are up 25 centimetres since last Friday.
She says they knew that would happen -- and with load restrictions now in place -- they can ensure some service this long weekend.
All light vehicles will be allowed on the Chi Cheemaun with the exception of large vehicles over 22,000 kg. And all vehicle reservations will be honoured with the exception of of large trucks or heavy they will have load restrictions
Schrempf says they will begin service on Friday, with an 8:50 AM scheduled departure from Tobermory.
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.
Service Notice Update
2013 Ferry Service Season to begin on Friday, May 17th with the 8:50am scheduled departure from Tobermory.
Lake Huron/Georgian Bay water levels have increased to the minimum required for the ferry to dock safely against the dock fenders at the Tobermory and South Baymouth ferry docks, under restricted load conditions. Ferry load restrictions will be in effect until water levels are at or above Chart Datum, or when Tobermory dock fender modifications are complete.
LOAD RESTRICTIONS (effective May 17, until further notice):
• Acceptable: light vehicles such as standard automobiles, pick-up trucks, vans, trailers, motorhomes, small cube trucks, motorcycles and bicycles
• Acceptable with limitations: Large vehicles (trucks) under 22,000kg – limited to max of 1 truck per load, and at Master’s discretion
• Not Acceptable: Large vehicles (trucks) over 22,000kg
All existing vehicle reservations will be honoured with the exception of large trucks or other heavy vehicles as long as load restrictions are in place. Persons wishing to book large trucks of any weight, or other heavy vehicles must contact the reservations office at 1-800-265-3163 for assistance.
The ferry service will continue to operate during fender reconstruction, expected to begin in the coming weeks. An agreement has been reached with Transport Canada, the owners of the docks, to permit the OSTC to access the federal facilities and complete repairs. The OSTC understands the urgency to get the MS Chi-Cheemaun sailing again at full service and are working to complete the construction as soon as possible.
An engineering firm has been retained and has started on the design and specifications. A provincial government tender to complete the construction work will be released on Tuesday, May 14. To learn more about the provincial government procurement process, and to compete for the contract, companies can visit http://www.merx.com.
The OSTC is committed to a superior level of customer service. Travelers looking for more information may call the toll free customer service line at (800) 265-3163, email [email protected] or follow @ontarioferries on Twitter.