Tough without ferry

COWELL will face a tough year ahead after the Sea SA ferry stops its service at the end of this month.

Sea SA’s Aurora V will make her last voyage later this month after a “disappointing” past 12 months.

Sea SA’s managing director Stephanie Dawson said the reduced use of the service was a result of the flattening economy in the state.

The Spencer Gulf ferry service will cease while development of the Lucky Bay port and construction of the new vessel gets underway.

Franklin Harbour District Council mayor Eddie Elleway said he was disappointed to hear about the temporary closure.

“It has really become a vital part of our community,” he said.

Mr Elleway said despite Sea SA citing poor use of the service a lot of Cowell businesses were still seeing the benefit.

“We were still very much getting business from the ferry.”

He said although it might be a tough 12 or so months he could see the benefit in the closure.

“From what I understand the new one will be much cheaper to run, maintain and crew.”

Sea SA has recently started the construction of a more modern catamaran, which has a larger hull, but reduced passenger capacity to contain crew numbers and ensure the vessel’s future viability.

The new vessel will have full disabled access accommodation on the vehicle deck without the need for a lift, as well as improved sea-keeping to minimise motion sickness.

Passenger facilities will be fully air conditioned with a licensed cafe, televisions, children’s area and comfortable seating.

Major capital expenditure on the harbours and berths at Lucky Bay and Wallaroo will also be undertaken during the closure to improve access for the future service.

“They also had to consider the development of the export port at Lucky Bay,” Mr Elleway said.

“Work on that development will start in about a month or so.”

The harbour and channel will be re-dredged and the new ferry will be built in accordance with that.

“There is no doubt it will be an inconvenience but it would have been a major problem to have the service running while all that was happening.”

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