What is the Amherst Island Ferry Docks Improvements project?

The Ministry of Transportation has selected Rankin Construction Inc. along with their design consultant Morrison Hershfield to convert the current Millhaven and Stella ferry docks from side-loading ramp operations to end-loading operations.

The redeveloped terminals will also provide a newly paved parking area that will accommodate more vehicles and be equipped with sidewalks; a new bubbler systems for winter ice control; and new passenger and staff facilities that include restrooms, waiting areas, bike racks and staff offices.

Why are end-loading operations better?

End-loading operations allow for vehicles to drive straight on and off the ferry without having to turn which will allows for easier access to and from the island, improve the overall efficiency of ferry operations and accommodate the increasing number of large commercial trucks and farm equipment that use the service. Amherst Island remains the only ferry service in Eastern Ontario with side-loading docks. Converting them to end-loading will provide consistency throughout the ferry services and will accommodate larger vessels.

Will ferry service be disrupted during construction?

Construction will be completed in stages to ensure ferry services remain fully operational throughout the duration of the project with ferry running on its regular schedule.

A temporary dock at each site, supported by adequate parking and marshalling areas, will be provided to allow for continuous ferry operations while the existing docks are being reconstructed. The public will be notified in advance of any changes and minor interruptions that may occur during construction.

How was the decision to make these dock improvements made?

The Ministry of Transportation completed a Class Environmental Assessment study between 2011 and 2014 to develop and evaluate design alternatives for each terminal. The preferred alternative was identified as part of that planning process and documented in a Transportation Environmental Study Report (TESR) that was filed in 2014.

Will the public have an opportunity for input into the project?

There will be opportunities for public involvement throughout the project including one set of Public Information Centres (PICs) that will be held in Millhaven and Stella on consecutive nights to present and receive input on the project. The date and location of the PICs will be announced through Ontario Government Notices (OGNs) in local newspapers, direct letter mailing, social media notifications and other communication tools.

Interested and affected stakeholders are also welcome to contact members of the Project Team at any time using the Contact Us section of this website. Personalized responses will be provided in a timely manner. See the Consultation section of the project’s webpage for additional ways to become involved in this project.

Are municipal staff involved in the project?

As operators of the Amherst Island Ferry Service, Loyalist Township is an essential stakeholder and participant throughout the project to ensure that Township staff and Council are aware of design schedules/status.

How are communications being managed during this project?

A dedicated Communications Committee has been formed that includes Loyalist Township staff as well as representatives from the MTO, Rankin Construction and Morrison Hershfield. The purpose of this committee is to:

  • Discuss Project communications and public engagement needs;
  • Share information and expertise;
  • Identify and plan for future communications and project milestones;
  • Address and manage new and emerging issues; and,
  • Receive updates concerning construction progress and schedule timelines.

What are some of the impacts of this construction?

The project may result in temporary noise, dust, access, local traffic and environmental impacts during construction. An Environmental Management Plan is being developed to identify potential effects and develop measures to avoid and/or reduce them.

How will I get notice if the ferry is late?

We do not anticipate that construction activities will impact ferry operations and the ferry will run on its regular schedule. In the event of a disruption to ferry service, notices will be posted on our project website, Twitter feed and on signs at the terminal.

Will there be lots of noise?

Unfortunately, increased noise is unavoidable during construction however we follow all municipal noise by-law requirements including seeking noise bylaw exemptions if required. We will try to stage noisier activities to avoid early morning and late evening timelines.

Will there be any conflicts between this project and the Wind Farm project?

The Wind Farm project and our docks improvements project are completely separate. However, we understand that construction for both could happen during the same time period. Our team will endeavour to establish and maintain good communication channels with the Wind Farm project to share information and ensure the two projects proceed safely and smoothly.

Where will I be able to park during construction?

Spaces for marshalling and parking at each of the ferry docks will exist throughout the construction period to support continuous ferry service. When these facilities are relocated, directional signs and lighting will be provided to guide dock users.

Who can I contact for more information?

People are welcome to contact members of the Project Team at any time using the Contact Us section of this website. Personalized responses will be provided in a timely manner. See the Consultation section of the project’s webpage for additional ways to become involved in this project.

Who is paying for the project?

The project is being fully funded by the Province of Ontario

How will the redeveloped terminals accommodate high and fluctuating Lake Ontario water levels?

The new ferry docks have been designed to accommodate the 100-year water level for this area, as determined by the Ministry of Natural Resources and Forestry. Water levels are regulated by the International Joint Commission, which has established maximum mean monthly water levels in Plan 2014 that are below the 100-year peak. The new Amherst Island Ferry docks accommodates all three vessels that are expected to use the ferry terminals, between elevations of 73.65 metres and 75.90 metres IGLD. The dock walls along the berths are 2.1 m (7 feet) above the high water level.