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Support Bluewater Ferry!

$14,495 of $500,000 goal

Raised by 116 people in 6 months
No Longer Accepting Donations
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Created February 5, 2018
 Please support this small business.  The Dalgety family is paying all costs (more than 1.5 million) of this restoration by using their financial resources and loans.  The huge financial costs is endangering this  small business. Please help!

Business / Community importance
138 years of crucial service to communities on both sides of the Canada-U.S. border. Jobs are at stake as is the vitality of local area businesses on both sides of the border.  In addition, we are all impacted by the loss of our long-enjoyed freedom to travel between the two communities. Every effort to seek governmental assistance has been stalled. Even so, the owners are committed to re-open and are putting all their financial resources & financing available into the repair.  As a committed group of volunteers who are helping in any way we can, we ask you to join us!

 Strategic importance
This international border crossing is a vital linchpin to the fabric of local river communities. The Sombra-based ferry service has played a critical role in the growth and development of communities on both sides of the river. During its long history, the ferry has provided a shorter cross-border route for domestic and commercial vehicles, an environmentally significant service for the reduction of vehicle carbon footprints, and timely support for time-sensitive “just in time” supply chains favoured by today’s cost-efficient businesses.

Why Support it
1)    Top reasons why it’s important
1)     tax revenue – loss of $3,321,000 in duty & taxes
2)     backup link to the bridges – twice in 2017 the Bluewater Bridge closed, all traffic diverted to Sombra
3)     loss of employment in the area – loss of $180,000 in fuel sales, loss of jobs at Ferry
4)     possible closure of local Sombra/Port Lambton/Marine City and area businesses; serious economic impact that ripples across the region
 
2)    What we need and how to help
Dalgety family is paying all costs of this restoration by using their financial resources and loans. Your donation is so helpful as the costs are overwhelming. It will be more than $1.5 million to restore.

Several ways to donate;
a.      Donate at any branch of Mainstreet Credit Union; “Save Bluewater Ferry” account.
b.      Send a cheque to Bluewater Ferry at 3490 King Street, P. O. Box 82, Sombra, ON  Canada.
c.      Donate to GoFundMe at https://funds.gofundme.com/dashboard/savebluewaterferry
d.      Contact Helen Cole 

TOGETHER, we’ll get this done! We so grateful for your help. Thank you from the bottom of our hearts.

Background
After 138 years of crucial service to communities on both sides of the Canada-U.S. border, the future of the Bluewater Ferry Company in Sombra is in jeopardy. This vital linchpin to the fabric of local river communities is out of service and will remain that way until the access causeway is completely replaced.

In early January, unprecedented ice buildup in the St. Clair River, estimated to be about 11 inches thick and about a mile and a half long, was dislodged from its place in the river north of Sombra village and propelled south by a gale-force north wind. As it moved south, the resulting force of the massive ice floe scoured the east shoreline, causing untold damage to docks and boat lifts along the way. When it reached the Sombra ferry dock causeway, it continued its progress unimpeded despite recent ice damage protection measures that had been put in place just three years ago. “The first day, it took the steel piers out from underneath (the causeway) and on the second day, the ice went over the cause-way,” said Rob Dalgety, co-owner of the ferry service.

He says the size and nature of the thick ice floe that defeated the robust ice protection measures was unlike anything the Bluewater Ferry Company had witnessed in its 64 years of operation.

Mr. Dalgety explained a comprehensive ice protection plan was put in place to defend the facility against the worst ice damage the company had previously experienced. This was done because they deemed the cost of insurance to be prohibitive. “Insurance was astronomical, way too much for us to cover, so we did upgrades to protect the dock against the ice,” he said.

He added the dock, which was refurbished in 1954, has been there for about 64 years without this kind of cata-strophic damage. The damage was, in effect, caused by a perfect storm of weather and circumstances.

 The comprehensive $30,000 ice damage protection project that had been carried out included the installation of twelve 40-foot cement-filled heavy steel pipes that were anchored to the north side of the causeway with steel ‘I’ beams, and three clustered ice protection spiles placed along the north side of the dock’s access causeway.
Immediately after the damage occurred, engineers were consulted to determine the ex-tent of the damage and estimate the cost of fixing it. The startling figure the Dalgety family received was $4 million. Subsequent estimates they received for workable solutions came in at about $2.5 million.
However, inquiries into other long-term solutions have come to light and are being investigated.
The Dalgety family is committed to continuing the ferry business and keeping the port open.   Efforts to obtain funding assistance from government and alternate sources are still underway.

The Sombra ferry is privately owned and has no federal government backing. It is our hope that any monies raised with assist with this massive undertaking and huge financial risk that the Dalgety family is undertaking.

Soon after the damage occurred, Mayor Steve Arnold traveled to Ottawa to meet with Terry Beech, the parliamentary secretary to the Minister of Fisheries, Oceans and the Canadian Coast Guard. The meeting was arranged by Sarnia-Lambton MP Marilyn Gladu. No financial support was offered at that time and since then, the only information Mayor Arnold has received from Ottawa was not encouraging. “They weren’t very hopeful,” he said. However, he is determined to keep trying. “I will continue to pursue help for the ferry until those I have requested help from tell me no.”

Digital age appeal underway

To expedite the start of the rebuilding project, an online “go fund me” page has been started. Spearheading the effort is volunteer Helen Cole, a Sarnia resident who brings with her 25 years of fundraising and management expertise in positions ranging from manager of the Canadian Cancer Society Sarnia-Lambton office to ownership of her own business, Cole & Company, a fund development and planning company. She says she heard about the crisis and thought a crowd-sourced fundraising effort was the logical way to gather community support. “I had been following it (the ferry situation) since it first happened,” she said. “I was waiting for a “go fund me” page so I could make a donation, and nothing happened. So, with the owner’s permission, I created a GoFundMe Account.
Helen set the goal for the fundraiser at $500K (a subsequent decision was made to raise to the full estimated total of 2,500,000. In the first two weeks of operation with little to no promotion, the page raised $700. The total raised as of Feb. 20 was $6,720. This impressive beginning has led to the formation of a volunteer committee, with the full participation of the Bluewater Ferry Company and several community-minded volunteers.

Bailey bridge option offers hope
One of the exciting things Helen was alluding to involves the possible installation of a bailey bridge instead of rebuilding the causeway. The strong, pre-fabricated truss bridge, first developed for military use by the British during WWII, can be erected within a relatively short time frame and can support heavy vehicles and equipment. They are used today in many civil engineering projects.
Rob and Rusty Dalgety contacted the 31 Combat Engineer Regiment, known as The Elgins, a Canadian military unit that includes combat engineers and is charged with providing engineering support, which includes bridge construction, in the field.
 The Dalgetys are currently working with Acrow Bridge, a Bolton-based company that bought the bailey bridge business from the military. Acrow Bridge states that today’s version of the bailey bridge can last up to 75 years in salt water. Over fresh water, the lifespan can reach up to 150 years. They have been used successfully for many civilian projects.
Their MTO-approved bridge would provide a cost-effective solution to a dire situation, but there are still obstacles that could delay the project.  There are several regulating bodies that must be satisfied with the environmental, legal, and structural details of the project before the appropriate permits and paperwork can be issued.

Why support the Sombra ferry?
The Sombra-based ferry service has played a critical role in the growth and development of communities on both sides of the river. During its long history, the ferry has provided a shorter cross-border route for domestic and commercial vehicles, an environmentally significant service for the reduction of vehicle carbon footprints, and timely support for time-sensitive “just in time” supply chains favoured by today’s cost-efficient businesses.
When the Bluewater Bridges are shut down or choked with traffic, the Bluewater Ferry Company ferry is the go-to border crossing alternative for many on both sides of the border. Even community safety is heightened. The St. Clair Township Fire Department and its local Michigan counterparts can respond in a timely manner to assist each other during emergencies when called upon. The ferry has even had occasion to save lives. For instance, a swimmer in danger of drowning was rescued from the river on the Marine City side after she was unable to climb back on shore over the seawall.
The ferry also allows the convenient flow of tourist traffic, providing increased traffic flow and financial benefits to local businesses on both sides of the border. On any given day, a single ferry makes about 40 trips per day, and when both ferries are in operation, the daily crossings can climb to about 60.
The revenue the Sombra ferry service generates is substantial. Rob Dalgety says in 2017, the Bluewater Ferry Company vessels facilitated the generation of $3,321,000 in Federal revenue as well as $190,000 in employee wages.
Subsequent cross-border meetings have established that the loss of the Bluewater Ferry Company service would have a devastating effect on communities on both sides of the border.
International Support
A large group of concerned citizens gathered at Anita’s Restaurant in Marine City on Feb.15 in support of the continuation of the Bluewater Ferry Company ferry service.
Thirty seven business owners, as well as local media, city and state government representatives, attended the meeting, and their concerns were made clear as they discussed the repercussions the loss of ferry service would have to their community. The conclusion was dire; the ripple effect of the closure would be catastrophic for the city and area employment.
Sweet Tooth, a Marine City business, has already started a fundraising campaign for the ferry, and when it is completed, the funds will be donated to the campaign.

Note: story and files used with permission from March 2018 St. Clair Township Beacon
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We are still waiting on permits but this amazing family is not giving up! We’re so thankful to Erickson Manufacturing Ltd. for their $1125 donation! Thank you so very much!
Kudos to Laurie Dalgety for raising $2500 selling Support our Ferry stickers!
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Thanks for the support! We sure do appreciate it. Bluewater Ferry has hired a local firm to assist with the process & permits. We have also opened a local bank account at Mainstreet Credit Union for those who wish to donate locally. Account is named Save Bluewater Ferry. The Dalgety family is committed to reopening this international port. They are using ALL their financial resources & any loans available to them. Your contributions are invaluable! Please continue to share & tell your friends & family. Again, we are
more grateful than words can express! ❤️❤️❤️
+ Read More
Here’s a quick update on progress. I met with Ferry owners yesterday. They are still receiving quotes. Mayor Steve Arnold & MPP Marilyn Gladu met the Ministry of Fisheries & Oceans on Friday. Mayor Arnold felt the meeting went well. As you know, the wheels of government move slowly. We have a fundraising team now We are planning a business/corporate approach for both sides of the river. Once the Dalgety’s have received all quotes & make a decision, we will announce selected bidder. At that point, the Dalgety’s will announce their own contribution. This is an essential service that needs to be restored. Please share the GoFundMe site on all social media, send to your friends & family & ask for their help. TOGETHER, we’ll get this done! We so grateful for your help. Thank you from the bottom of our hearts.
+ Read More
Thanks to Ann Markham for her generous donation of $200! ❤️
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$14,495 of $500,000 goal

Raised by 116 people in 6 months
No Longer Accepting Donations
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Created February 5, 2018
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