BC Ferries is sailing ahead with plans for a cable ferry service connecting Denman and Hornby islands to Vancouver Island.
Seaspan says its North Vancouver shipyard has been awarded the $15-million contract to build the nearly 79-metre ferry, capable of carrying 50 vehicles and 150 passengers.
A BC Ferries official says the company's first-ever cable vessel has a guaranteed delivery date and should be in service on the Buckley Bay-to-Denman Island route by the summer of 2015.
Vice-president of engineering Mark Wilson says a cable ship offers significant savings on fuel and labour, cutting expenses by about $2 million a year compared to a regular ferry.
Cable ferries are propelled between opposite docks by winches and water currents and the 1.9-kilometre crossing off the east coast of Vancouver Island would be the longest in the world.
That has prompted concerns from Hornby and Denman Island residents about safety, reliability and the loss of as many as 15 local jobs.