The ferry connecting L'Isle-aux-Coudres with Saint-Joseph-de-la-Rive is out of service following an accident on the island located about 100 kilometres downstream from Quebec City on the St. Lawrence River.
The vessel MV Svanoy, which was purchased for $10 million in June, was damaged after docking on the island on Thursday at about 9:45 pm.
Although there were no damages to the infrastructure at the dock, the severity of the damage to the ship is not yet known. No injuries were reported.
Without a ferry, people on the island are already feeling the impact, Mayor Dominic Tremblay, said.
This morning, the Centre de services scolaire de Charlevoix announced that it was suspending classes at a local elementary school, École Saint-Pierre.
"It's major for us. Life doesn't stop, but it's terribly complicated," said Mayor Tremblay. "There are many people on the island who work on the mainland, construction workers who work outside (of the island)... there are all the delivery services and merchandise that comes into the island."
An emergency plan was put in place last night by the Société des traversiers du Québec (STQ) which includes emergency helicopter service and the requisitioning of the NM Lomer-Gouin ferry that normally supplies service to the crossing between Lévis and Quebec City.
The NM Lomer-Gouin completed a final crossing near Quebec City Friday morning and started servicing L'Iles-aux-Coudres at 2 p.m.
The impact of this shift will be felt in Quebec City and Lévis, as the NM Lomer-Gouin was the only vessel that allowed cars on board.
In its absence, a passenger-only ferry will be servicing the area, forcing motorists to take the Pierre Laporte Bridge, as reported by Radio-Canada.
Jean-René Roy is a resident of Lévis and was taking the commuter ferry on Friday. As a retired professor, he says he has opted for the ferry for years.
"It is fundamental. There used to be ferries for 200 years," said Roy. "The other [NM Alphonse] Desjardins is already in repair for months so at the moment we're ending up with no ferry (for motorists) … In the winter what will it be?"
Gilles Dion, of Lévis, has similar concerns with the smaller commuter vessel come cooler months.
"They ought to have the regular boat back at the end of November. Winter is coming. The little boat here is not able to pass through the ice," said Dion.
Simon Laboissonnière, a communication officer at the STQ, says there is an investigation into the accident at L'Isle-aux-Coudres.
"The priority since the incident was to deploy our emergency plan to L'Isle-aux-Coudres," said Laboissonnière. "But the teams are already there looking at the different scenarios and possibilities for Quebec and Lévis but for the moment I cannot confirm the period or duration."