Ferry set to open by mid-month
Yellowknifers pay the price

by Cheryl Leschasin
Northern News Services

Fact File
Dates the ferry went in and out
Last tripFirst trip
1996: Jan. 15 May 15
1995: Jan. 12May 13
1994: Jan. 10May 11
1993:Jan. 14May 6
1992:Jan. 18May 21
1991:Jan. 7May 12
1990:Jan. 3May 10

NNSL (May 07/97) - The territorial Department of Transport predicts the Mackenzie River ferry at Fort Providence will be back in action by mid-May -- right on schedule.

"The ice is moving around Fort Providence but it's not broken up yet," said Les Shaw, marine supervisor in Fort Simpson.

In 1992, the ferry was closed until May 21, the latest opening date since 1986.

Records for the last 10 years show the average opening date to be around May 13.

Shaw said that, although there may be a bit of high water, ice thickness is within historical averages and breakup is not expected to present any flooding problems.

In Yellowknife, consumers can expect to continue to pay a little extra for perishables until the ferry is back in operation.

However, grocery store managers say they have been doing their bit to protect their customers.

"Prices have gone up a little, but we try to absorb as much of the cost as we can," said Pietro Bertolini, produce manager at Edgson's.

Some items such as milk have jumped in price, but the increase reflects only the higher shipping costs for highly perishable items. "We don't mark it up any more than we have to -- it's a necessity," said Bertolini.

Other grocers in town also said any increase in cost is a direct result of higher freight charges.