The Nimpkish is to be replaced with a larger ferry to serve the Bella Bella-Bella Coola route on the B.C. Central Coast.

BC Ferries projects now eligible for federal funds

Replacing the Nimpkish on the Bella Coola run and upgrading the Langdale terminal on the Sunshine Coast are top priorities

A terminal upgrade on the Sunshine Coast route and a larger ferry to serve the B.C. Central Coast are likely the first projects to benefit from an expanded federal infrastructure fund, B.C. Transportation Minister Todd Stone says.

B.C. has lobbied successive federal governments to reverse the “somewhat baffling” policy of excluding ferries from eligibility for the “New Building Canada Plan” that provides a federal share for roads, bridges and other major projects, Stone said.

Federal Infrastructure Minister Amarjeet Sohi announced the change this week, but it is not yet clear whether the federal share would increase from the existing one-third formula with provinces and local governments.

BC Ferries priorities are an upgrade of the Langdale terminal connecting Horseshoe Bay with the Sunshine Coast, and a replacement of the Nimpkish, a 13-vehicle ferry connecting Bella Bella and Bella Coola.

Stone said the new ferry will accommodate 40 to 60 vehicles and incorporate First Nations culture and food. Tourism companies in the Cariboo protested the 2014 switch from larger vessels to the Nimpkish to serve the Discovery Coast circle tour, which continues by road from Bella Coola to Williams Lake.