The George Black Ferry in Dawson City will run on a reduced schedule for the remainder of the season once it has returned to operating, which could happen by Friday night, according to the department of Highways and Public Works.
The Yukon government’s emergency response team has been in conversations with Dawson City officials to deal with the out-of-service ferry.
In an email and social media update, the City of Dawson said the community’s own Emergency Measures Organization was activated on the morning of Aug. 18 out of “care and concern about residents and visitors” who are effectively stuck on the west side of the Yukon River.
“The City of Dawson, in conjunction with community partners, service providers and dedicated volunteers are working together to provide support to folks in a challenging situation,” reads the update.
The ferry has been out of commission since Aug. 16 as it is undergoing repairs due to mechanical issues with the propeller. It has been pulled out of the water for an inspection and to determine the extent of the problem.
That has left people with vehicles in a difficult position as there is currently no mechanism to get their vehicles across the water. A shuttle service has been set up to bring foot traffic across the river from 7 a.m. to 11 p.m.
It is not clear how many people are situated on the west side of the river and where they are staying in the meantime.
“While not ideal, people do have the option of crossing the river by shuttle boat to access supplies and services in Dawson, or can travel back up to the Top of the World Highway through to Beaver Creek,” said department of Highways and Public Works spokesperson Krysten Johnson.
Johnson previously said the ferry will need at least two full days to undergo repairs. In an update on Aug. 18, Johnson said a solution is being worked on that could get the ferry back in the water as early as the evening of Aug. 19.
The ferry was originally built in 1967, according to the department.
Contact Dana Hatherly at firstname.lastname@example.org