A look at the Wolfe Island ferry terminal construction schedule

Construction, dredging, and a new ferry terminal and boat are on their way for anyone crossing to Wolfe Island — and the work could begin this fall. In doing so, downtown Kingston bids farewell to a waterfront parking lot, a gas station and the Ontario Street Tim Hortons location.

Rendering of the new Wolfe Island Ferry terminal, as it’s expected to be seen in 2024. Provided by the Ministry of Transportation of Ontario.

Speaking to Kingston City Council on Tuesday, Jul. 9, 2019, Tina White, a Senior Project Manager with the Ministry of Transportation, gave a briefing to council about the upcoming changes and showed off the renders of the new facility.

A four-stage construction schedule is being used for the project, with an increase in construction activity and in-water work beginning on the Marysville, Wolfe Island side of the crossing as early as this fall. Work on the Kingston dock is expected to begin in early 2020 by expanding the southern footprint of the existing dock and constructing a berth on the southern side. Its during this phase that the existing gas station and Tim Hortons are to be demolished.

The Shell and Tim Hortons property has been bought out by the province to be demolished as part of the construction. Photo by Tommy Vallier

During the second phase, the ferry will continue with its current loading ramp while the central portion of the new dock is used. The former gas station site will be used as a marshalling area at night, enabling work to continue 24 hours per day as needed.

Phase three will change where the ferry docks, making use of the new southern loading berth for ferry service and creating temporary shelter for pedestrians and cyclists as the existing building is demolished. The northern loading ramp will be constructed. Traffic will be moved to exit onto Queen Street, with the existing entrance being maintained.

Finally, the new building will be completed, landscaping wrapped up and the traffic reconfigured a last time — vehicles will enter through Queen Street and exit along either Tragically Hip Way or Queen Street.

Rendering of the final stage of construction, detailing the traffic reconfiguration for the final project. Provided by the Ministry of Transportation of Ontario.

As part of the work, 14,000 dump trucks of soil and sediment is expected to be dredged from the harbour to lower the riverbed. Contaminated material will be disposed of at an appropriate facility, though the Ministry is continuing to research the possibility of open water relocation of non-contaminated materials.

It is anticipated that construction will be completed in early 2024. A new ferry, which will be fully electric, was confirmed by the province in 2018 and will begin operation amidst the construction in early 2021.

14 thoughts on “A look at the Wolfe Island ferry terminal construction schedule

  • Awesome article Tommy. Glad to see the city updating and expanding its ventures. Bad infrastructure makes for terrible traffic issues. The all electric ferry is also a cool add-on to the modern terminal.

  • Where are the people from the Shell station and Tim Hortons supposed to go. Are they going to lose their jobs?

  • Very informative article! Improvements to infrastructure are always welcome when done in a fiscally responsible manner, unfortunately this isn’t that. Spending millions of dollars the province doesn’t have for 2 access points on Wolfe Island makes no fiscal sense. The Dawson point location offers deep water, shorter route, open land for a marshalling area and highway infrastructure to quickly and safely offload vehicles. The Marysville village location offers a shallow bay, longer route, no land for a marshalling area unless you expropriate or build out into the water $$$$, and no way to quickly and safely offload vehicles. The infrastructure improvements are definitely needed but the MTO should have exercised some fiscal responsibility and common sense in its completion.

  • Overdue. This area has been in need of overhaul for a while. Nice to see electric drives on the new boats.

  • Not just a gas station, The only downtown gas station. The closest one is now at Victoria & Princess street. Another ridiculous waste of our tax dollars! The Shell station was operated by a nice hard working family.

  • I was told at the information meeting that the ministry was looking 20 years down the road on this project so you give us a 75 car ferry witch compared to the 55 car ferry we now have and then in your wisdom you do away with the parking that islanders use to commute on foot from the island which has at least 50 parking spots the ferry service will be worse with this plan I suggest you people sharpen your pencils and rethink this mess!!!! I was also told that no canadian ship builders BID on this ship build i think you got labour on the cheap!!

  • Great, to see improvement but why did’t they include a deep water pier to accommodate larger ships like cruise ships, navy ships that would visit Kingston. Just a suggestion.

  • Poorly thought out & waste of tax dollars.
    Loss of parking and downtown gas station is ridiculous. Design based on aesthetics & not practical. Benefit of extra cars & electric ferry is lost as people that parked will now drive on. Also do not see a plan to address traffic so grid lock & exhaust pollution remains an issue, At least give islander’s a priority line to compensate for higher traffic & loss of parking!

  • Poorly thought out. No ferry parking or downtown gas station is a significant loss. Design based on aesthetics & penalizes islanders. Benefit of extra cars & electric ferry is lost as people that previously parked will now drive on. No plan to address traffic so grid lock remains an issue on both sides.
    At least give Wolfe Island tax payers a priority line to compensate for higher traffic & loss of parking!

  • I think this plan is hit and miss. I actually quite like the idea of having a dedicated intersection to board the ferry over in Kingston. It’s an awkward setup to have the pull off mid-block on Ontario Street and it would allow for better traffic flow if placed by Queen Street (especially with a dedicated turning light). I don’t like where the car park is, it’s way too far from the ferry. It would be great if they could place it next to the new visitor center. Could they get away with demolishing Tim Hortons but keeping the gas station? Maybe by adding a lane that drivers could pull into and fill up at? It’s good to have some fresh proposals and I am excited to see what’s in store for the Island side. Anything would beat having cars line up on the side of the road.

    • Why not locate a service station on Wolfe Island? I know there was one on the Island at one time.

  • Great to hear, this area is always busy and is in desperate need for an update with a second ferry.
    I assume it will also have great economic benefits not to mention the work that will be created.
    I think it is a great decision and look forward to seeing it completed.

  • Terrible waste of funds & decided by people that won’t have live with the consequences. Destroying the ecology of Barrett Bay is a crime & not necessary

    The ferry should neither dock in Downtown Kingston or in the village of Marysville, use the Winter Island dock year round & build a new Kingston terminal out of the city.Near the CFB base for example. The shortest distance between 2 points is a straight line

    BTW to build the new village dock they are tearing down a village heritage home.
    The designers of this project could never survive in private business, but they’re very good at wasting taxpayers money.

  • Build a floating parking dock to accommodate for the loss of parking on Kingston main-land while you’re at it

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