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Judge sinks union challenge

The union representing B.C. ferry workers has been denied a chance to appeal the approval to replace an aging ship with a cable-ferry service that could trigger the loss of up to 15 local jobs.

Ferry commissioner Gord Macatee announced in February that a ship propelled by a hydraulic motor along three submerged cables would replace a conventional vessel on the 1.9-kilometre crossing between Vancouver Island and Denman Island.

BC Ferries argued the cable ferry would save the service $2 million annually and awarded the contract to Seaspan Marine of North Vancouver, B.C.

But the BC Ferry and Marine Workers' Union asked the province's highest court if it could appeal the decision, arguing Macatee based his decision on unsupported facts and didn't understand his own job.

The B.C. Court of Appeal has ruled the proposed appeal has no chance of success partly because it raises questions of fact not questions of law, which appeals must be based upon.

The original application to build the cable ferry states the new service would be the longest cable operation of its kind in a world, a fact Macatee has said was supported by the marine architect.

The Canadian Press

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