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BC Ferries approved for cable-ferry

BC Ferries has received approval to build what could be one of the world's longest cable-ferry systems but the service is remaining mum about the expected cost for the Vancouver Island project.

Ferry commissioner Gord Macatee says that in approving the project, he agreed to keep the cost confidential so BC Ferries is not put at a competitive disadvantage while negotiating with shipyards or suppliers.

Macatee says the new vessel, which will be powered by a hydraulic motor and will run along three submerged cables, will save the service about $2 million a year.

The ferry route between Buckley Bay, on the east coast of central Vancouver Island and Denman Island, is currently served by a nearly 80-metre-long ship built in 1977.

A report to Macatee from BC Ferries says the 1.9-kilometre route will be one of the longest operations of its kind and is expected to be running by the spring or summer of 2015.

Under the Coastal Ferry Act, the commissioner must approve all major capital expenditures by ferry operators.

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