WOLFE ISLAND, ONT. -- Construction on the Wolfe Island Ferry is now well underway, and making great strides.

The island off the shore of Kingston, Ont. is a small village of 1,500 people, and a handful of small businesses on its Main Street. To visit, tourists and locals need a ferry to access it.

The spot is a popular destination for visitors during the summer, and there have been reports of long wait times to get on and off the island. 

Last September, the Ministry of Transportation closed off the Marysville dock to begin construction on a new one that will host a new electric ferry to improve services to the community.

Tom Carpenter is the owner of Hotel Wolfe Island that sits down the street from the new ferry.

He says businesses hope for it to be a ‘boon’ to the local economy.

“We utterly assume that the terminal means we’re going to be utterly swamped with that walk-on traffic,” he says. “We assume that it’s going to go back to how it was, and then a whole lot more. The ferry has a lot more room, a lot more people can get on it, and... it will be a tourist attraction in and of itself.”

The new ferry will connect downtown Kingston to Marysville Main Street, all year round. 

It will be fully electric, and the Ministry of Transportation says it will be able to carry 400 people and 83 cars. That’s up from the current ferry’s 55 car capacity.

Denis Doyle, the mayor of Frontenac Islands, says the project is also replacing the old dock that’s close to 50 years old.

“It previously only held seven or eight cars on the ferry dock itself,” he explains. “And all the other traffic to be loaded, had to snake down the main streets of Marysville which took a lot a long time to cue up when they loaded it.”

To accommodate, construction and expansion is also being undertaken at the Kingston Ferry terminal as well.

Carpenter tells CTV News Ottawa that there are some concerns that the new ferry could cause the island to lose some of its charm. The price of progress. 

“It’s like a bigger highway here now, (that) means that there’s going to be a lot more pressure on real estate,” says Carpenter. 

Still, restaurant owners like Casey Fisher, who co-owns the Wolfe Island Waterfront Grill, welcomes the business.

“It’s long overdue, as people know it takes three hours to get on or off the island in the summertime, so it’ll be refreshing to have a new ferry service and double and triple our capacity with passengers to the island that’s for sure,” he says. “I think it’ll bring us a lot more business in the shoulder season and in the winter it’ll allow us to keep people employed twelve months a year.”

The MTO say the Marysville ferry and terminal are set to be opened on schedule in December 2022.