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Union hopes to block BC Ferries’ cable ferry plans for Denman Island crossing

Denman and Hornby islands sit across a 1.9-kilometre span from Buckley Bay on Vancouver Island, which would be crossed by cable ferry under a new BC Ferries’ plan.

Duane Prentice/The Globe and Mail

BC Ferries could be hauled into court over its plans for a cable ferry connecting Vancouver Island and Denman Island at the northern end of Georgia Strait.

The BC Ferry and Marine Workers' Union has issued a bulletin to its members saying union lawyers will request the B.C. Court of Appeal hear arguments against the ferry commission's approval of spending for the link.

Seaspan Marine announced in February that its North Vancouver shipyard had won a $15-million contract to build the ferry, capable of carrying 50 vehicles and 150 passengers.

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BC Ferries argues cable vessels offer fuel and labour savings of up to $2-million dollars annually, over the cost of similar-sized, self-propelled ships.

Cable ferries are propelled between opposite docks by winches and water currents and the 1.9-kilometre crossing between Buckley Bay and Denman Island, off the east coast of Vancouver Island, would be the longest in the world.

Critics say switching to a cable ship will cost as many as 15 local jobs, and they add the length of the crossing and unpredictability of water conditions raise concerns about safety and reliability of the vessel.

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