New Ferry for Moosonee and Moose Factory

NORTH BAY, ON, Aug. 18 /CNW/ - Ontario Northland is very excited to announce that a new passenger-vehicle and freight ferry that will service the communities of Moosonee and Moose Factory has arrived in Moosonee.  The new ferry will be known as the Niska I and will enter into official service next spring.

"We are extremely excited to introduce the Niska I and look forward to providing enhanced services to the residents and businesses of Moosonee and Moose Factory," said Paul Goulet, President and CEO of Ontario Northland.  "We are anxious to host an official celebration with our community partners in the spring that will recognize the importance and value of this ferry to the region."

"The Niska I will provide our communities with a superior ferry service and will meet our needs for both passenger and cargo transportation," commented Grand Chief Stan Louttit of the Mushkegowuk Council.  "I look forward to continuing to work with Ontario Northland for the benefit of our region."

The new vessel is 28 meters long and 10.5 meters wide, capable of carrying two full length tractor-trailers or eight passenger vehicles, and up to 50 people.  The Niska I will replace the Manitou Island II, which was built in 1956 and currently provides cargo only ferry services to both communities.  The total project cost of up to $4.5 million is being funded by the Province of Ontario.

"This significant upgrade to Ontario Northland equipment reaffirms this government's commitment to ensuring efficient and quality transportation services to residents of the James Bay Frontier," said Northern Development, Mines and Forestry Minister Michael Gravelle. "This acquisition is truly worthy of the community celebration that is being planned for the spring."

While the ferry structure itself has arrived in Moosonee, the vessel had been sealed for safe delivery.  It will require significant work prior to being launched into official service, including: unsealing the actual structure; setting up machinery; completing safety planning; undergoing a Transport Canada ship safety inspection; crew training and trial runs.   This work along with safety inspections are expected to take place throughout the fall.

Name the Ferry Contest
Earlier this year, Ontario Northland held a Name the Ferry contest and Niska I emerged as the winning name.  Niska is the Cree word for goose.  The arrival of the spring season each year results in the melting of the snow and ice and the eventual arrival of open water. The geese arrive as the waterways emerge. The traditional spring goose hunt symbolizes the changing season and the return of open water. The Niska name was chosen to reflect the fact that the open water and the presence of the geese signify that water travel has returned.

Ontario Northland thanks all Name the Ferry contest entrants and congratulates our contest winners: Diane Charland of Moosonee and Bev Cheechoo of Cochrane.  Both winners will participate in the official ceremony to launch the Niska I and will receive four return tickets for travel aboard the Polar Bear Express train.

SOURCE Ontario Northland Transportation Commission

For further information: For further information:

Beverly Martin, Chief Communications Officer, Ontario Northland, 705.472.4500 ext. 265 or cell:
705.845.8884.

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Ontario Northland Transportation Commission

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