August 19, 2014: Rough ride

IT has been a rough ride since the Wallaroo to Lucky Bay ferry service was launched in 2006. Firstly, it took many years to get to launch date.

As with any major project, numerous hurdles were encountered such as meeting the requirements of local councils at either side, the Development Assessment Commission, Coastal Protection Board, et cetera.

Approval was finally granted in October 2005 with plans for the service to be operating by April 2006.

More hurdles popped up but it was a triumphant day when the Sea Way made her maiden voyage in December 2006.

She was like a shiny, new toy and, for some time, locals and tourists lined up to get on board and others simply stood on the shore to view the new attraction in all her glory.

Such was the popularity of the service, Sea SA announced a bigger, better ferry, the Sea Scape I, would begin operation in March 2007 and the two ferries would work in tandem.

In April 2008, Sea SA sourced another, even bigger, ferry — the Sea Spirit I. Again it was planned for two ferries to operate, which they did for some time.

Everything was sailing along smoothly; the service won awards and continued to attract good numbers.

The ferry also helped win funding for the Wallaroo foreshore and road works, the latest being the current construction of a roundabout on Jetty Road to allow B-double access to the ferry terminal.

But indications the ferry was hitting troubled waters surfaced in 2009 when Sea SA “streamlined” its services to less crossings per week.

Then, in August of that year, the company announced the Sea Spirit had been sold but a replacement vessel, the Aurora V, was being built. The service was suspended until mid-2010 but this stretched out to February 2012 when the Aurora finally arrived and resumed crossings across the gulf.

Many people, including myself, were sceptical Aurora would never show up and I am sure scepticism will again be rife about a new boat arriving in late 2015.

However, let’s hope Sea SA again proves us wrong and returns with a service in a timely manner.

Amie Price, Editor

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