Manitoulin ferry tourists dwindle

Fewer tourists are getting on board a ferry between South Baymouth on Manitoulin Island and Tobermory on the Bruce Peninsula this summer.
Fewer tourists are taking the Chi-Cheemaun Ferry this summer between Manitoulin Island and the Bruce Peninsula. (Hugo Duchaine/CBC)

Fewer summertime tourists are getting on board a ferry between South Baymouth on Manitoulin Island and Tobermory on the Bruce Peninsula.

The start of the 2013 Chi-Cheemaun Ferry season was delayed when workers had to repair the docks because of low water levels.

The tourist season so far has not been great, the president and CEO of the Owen Sound Transportation Company said.

"We lost the first two weeks of the service and we lost the buildup that [it] normally provides for us," Susan Schrempf said.

"Right now, we’re running about eight per cent behind [the] traffic we carried on the same number of operating days last year."

Meanwhile, dock repairs are almost complete and are on schedule, Schrempf said.

"The remaining portion is simply the plastic facing that has to be applied to the new steel timbers," she explained.

"That will take place probably next week, after the holiday."

The repairs are not a permanent solution, Schrempf said, and added the newly repaired docks are designed to operate at current water levels, not lower ones. The area's declining water levels need is a problem that will likely take years to address, she added.