156-tonne ferry sets course once again to Norway House after delays
CF Gilbert Laugher makes its way to the north end of Lake Winnipeg under tow with the MV Rapids. (Source: Manitoba government)
Published Saturday, September 16, 2017 9:39AM CST
Last Updated Saturday, September 16, 2017 11:44AM CST
The journey of a 156-tonne ferry built to serve the link between Jenpeg Generating Station and Norway House First Nation is back on track this weekend – and could reach its final destination in a week.
Last week the Cable Ferry Gilbert Laugher had to be docked near Hecla while a mechanical issue with the tugboat pulling the ferry was being worked out. The vessel left Selkirk on Sept. 6.
A provincial spokesperson tells CTV News the ferry has reached the top of Lake Winnipeg.
“The Laugher, which is designed to move between the shores of the Nelson River at Norway House using cables, will now be portaged overland to avoid the rapids at along the Nelson River at PR 373,” the spokesperson said.
The vessel is named after Gilbert Sandy Laugher who was born in Norway House. Laugher worked as a government ferry operator for many years, until he retired in 1993. The First Nations communities he served nominated him for his service.
Gilbert passed away in 2008, but his daughter said the naming helps keep her father’s legacy alive.
“He was very beloved by the community. He was very good to people,” said Lyette Laugher who grew up in Norway House and now lives in Thompson.
“This was home for my dad for the most part with the work he did and he enjoyed the work that he did,” she added.
The provincial spokesperson said there is still no exact ‘in service’ date for the ferry, but it could be in place within about a week or more, if the weather cooperates.
Still Laugher said people in Norway House are excited about the ferry’s arrival.
“There is so much hype about it now. And you know for a number of reasons. One because there is a new ferry. And the other because everyone knew my dad. My dad was so humble and so kind and nurturing to people,” said Laugher.
The provincial spokesperson said the ferry must now be pulled out of the water, moved overland about a kilometre, then eased back into the water, all on temporary skids with big machines called D-8 caterpillars.