Bicycle ferry project delayed until next year

The view of Prescott, Ontario from Ogdensburg’s waterfront is shown. A plan to launch a bicycle ferry to link the two cities has been delayed until next year. File photo

OGDENSBURG — Plans to launch a bicycle ferry between the river cities of Prescott, Ontario and Ogdensburg will not get off the drawing board this year.

“We all may have been a tad bit enthusiastic,” Ogdensburg City Manager Sarah Purdy said. “Everything is going along just fine, but we all needed to come to the realization that in order to get all the ducks in a row we needed to do it next year.”

In June, Prescott Mayor Brett Todd reported to the City Council that a draft report from a feasibility study was positive enough to move forward with a plan to conduct a pilot project this summer.

The committee suggested the weekends of July 19 to 21, which was Founders Weekend in Ogdensburg, and Aug. 2 to 4, which was a civic holiday in Ontario, were weekends during which to conduct pilot runs of the ferry.

The preliminary plan called for four round trips on Saturday and Sunday and one or two round trips on Friday to catch evening crowds, Mr. Todd said.

The proposed boat from the feasibility study would hold 12 passengers and their bicycles.

On Aug. 8, Ms. Purdy said that a ferry operator had not yet been identified.

“We all thought this was going to gel much faster than it was able to,” She said. “There’s nothing amiss here. We just underestimated how much time it was going to take.”

Initial concerns about getting customs clearance have been worked out, Ms. Purdy said.

“Both the customs agencies on both sides of the river are coordinating with us and that will move forward smoothly for next year,” she said.

Not being able to tell customs who the operator will be and not coordinating dates with the customs agencies were details that needed to be worked out, she said.

Delaying to next year will allow for better preparation, Ms. Purdy said.

“One of the issues for us was that we were running out of time to do any marketing,” she said. “We certainly want the pilot runs to be successful. You can’t depend on them being successful if you haven’t gotten the word out on the date.”

Johnson Newspapers 7.1

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