There’s a watch on South Bay ice pack as Chi-Cheemaun’s season draws near

Chi-Cheemaun Ferry

OWEN SOUND—The Chi-Cheemaun’s first official sail of the 2018 season is scheduled for Friday, May 4—a mere 10 days away—but the Owen Sound Transportation Company (OSTC), the ferry’s parent company, is keeping a close eye on the remaining ice in Lake Huron.

“The Environment Canada ice chart shows fast ice up inside South Bay, but our dock cameras show it clear at the South Baymouth dock and at the entrance from the lake,” said OSTC President and CEO Susan Schrempf in an email to The Expositor. (‘Fast ice’ refers to ice that remains fastened to the shoreline.) “If the ice north of us is broken up and the wind shifts from southwest to north, the ice will blow down to the dock and entrance, and that will be a problem. We cannot operate the Chi-Cheemaun in ice, broken or otherwise.”

Ms. Schrempf did go on to note that “much change can happen in two weeks, and no one is able to predict it with any accuracy. “Best case scenario for the ferry is for the ice to deteriorate in the north end of South Bay without being broken up by an ice breaker.”

The Expositor will continue to update this story in the lead-up to the anticipated season-opening Friday, May 4 sailing date.