WATCH: The bidding is now closed for the Queen of Burnaby ferry. BC Ferries was trying to sell off the 52 year old vessel in an online auction. It will be replaced on the Comox-Powell River route this spring by the brand new Salish Orca. Meanwhile, the opposition is criticizing the sale of the vessel, saying the province needs an additional backup. Calvin To has more.
BC Ferries will now be evaluating the offer made by the sole bidder in the auction to sell off its Queen of Burnaby vessel.
The only bid placed in the auction was for $425,000.
The bidder is not yet known.
The auction began late December of last year and ran until mid February of 2017.
The sole bid came in the morning the auction was set to close, just hours before the end.
It was not an unexpected result, according to BC Ferries.
“A vessel of this size, there is quite a limited market for used ferries, so it can be a difficult sell sometimes,” says Deborah Marshall, Executive Director of Public Affairs for BC Ferries.
The Queen of Burnaby was built in 1965 in Victoria. It served for more than five decades, most recently on the Comox-Powell River route.
It is one of two vessels being replaced by two ships from Poland.
Opposition critics are criticizing the sale, saying the Queen of Burnaby should instead be kept on hand as a replacement.
“We’ve seen the problems when there’s no backup on that route. Nine hours delayed last summer, it can be a real mess,” says NDP transportation critic Claire Trevena.
The province, meanwhile, says it was time to stop spending millions maintaining an old ship that was subject to several breakdowns in recent years.
“I think it’s exciting. It’s very exciting for the people of Powell River and Comox, who have had to endure an old vessel, the Queen of Burnaby, for a lot of years,” says Todd Stone, B.C.’s minister of transportation.
BC Ferries says it plans to evaluate the entire process once it’s complete.
A dozen vessels are expected to be replaced in the next 12 years.