Wednesday, May 26, 2010

There Should Be More People Concerned...

In February the Charlottetown Chamber of Commerce had a Business Roundtable to discuss key issues facing our Community. When it was my turn to put forward my concerns I expressed the importance of becoming pro-active on a couple of fronts one of which is just starting to rear it head and that is the possibility of the ferry link at Wood Islands being terminated. I suggested that the Chamber strike a Committee to "get ready" for what could be a devastating blow to our Tourism industry, our service businesses and the local Eastern PEI economy. You only have to look at Digby and Yarmouth Counties in Nova Scotia and you can quickly see the devastation to the local economy with the closing of some of the ferry and airline services to these communities. I get a sense that the Federal Government are thinking of cutting funding the Wood Island service to Pictou and I think it is incumbent on us all to quickly develop a strategy plan to support this valuable link to our neighbouring Provinces.... I often suggest to friends and colleagues who are planning on a Maritime vacation to consider taking the Link here and take the ferry back (or vice-versa) and most who do always consider the trip as one of their vacation highlights... after reading the following story maybe it's time our business community starting thinking about a support strategy for this great link to our Province before it disappears... it's not only the workers who should be concerned.
Ferry review concerns workers
Tuesday, May 25, 2010
CBC News
Five years of funding for the ferry service expired in March. (CBC)
A one-year review of Northumberland Ferries, which operates between P.E.I. and Nova Scotia, has workers concerned about the future of the service.
A $27-million, five-year contract with the federal government expired in March. Ottawa is now providing one year worth of funding while it reviews the operation and just how necessary it is.
Captain David White has devoted 46 years of his life working for Northumberland Ferries. He's crossed the strait between Wood Island and Caribou countless times but says he still gets a rush from it.
"To me, it's been my livelihood. It's been a good job for me," said White.
"Also I feel that we provide a necessary service to the community of P.E.I. and Nova Scotia."
Local MP Lawrence MacAulay helped broker the last deal for Northumberland Ferries, when serious cutbacks were proposed for the service, but avoided at the last minute.
"I do fear it and I understand only too well what it would do the economy," said MacAulay.
"It would hurt Charlottetown and it would be a bad blow to eastern Prince Edward Island, not only for workers on the ferry but much more than that. I think the tourism industry [would be hurt]."
MacAulay says he will fight to make sure that doesn't happen.
The review is weighing heavily on Tina MacDonald's mind. She's been with the company for 26 years.
"We never have that security with subsidies, I guess, that we would like to have in place," said MacDonald.
"That would be a big thing to have that locked in there, and know you have that security with the government."
The government review will continue through to March of next year.


Anonymous said...

This ferry service needs to go!!!

The facts are simple the $5 Million of tax dollars could easily be spent more wisely and more effectively than spending it in this over privced under ultilized ferry service.

It is just plain silly that we are paying $5 Million dollars for a 6 Month ferry service plus the over priced fares they charge on top of the Free Government Money this company gets.

Lets take that $5 Million and put it to goo use. Just think Tim if the $25 Million waste in the last 5 years on the Ferry service was put into economic development as w3ell promotion for this area we would see much more than a few 6 Month Jobs on the ferry and see some longterm lasting economice development for this area of PEI.

The time has come for the federal Government to wisen up and lets save this waste of tax dollars and put it to some good use for a change.

We don't need his ferry service and it serves NO ONE. There is NO legal or constitutional requirement for having it. The only reason it didn't disappear before now was because Lawrence MacAulay didn't mind wasting tax dollars so that he could keep a few votes. The fact is it is a gross waste of tax dollars.

Anonymous said...

On the surface the previous comment appears to be the opposite of Tim's post.
Divide and concur! Government will love this.
You two may have more in common than it appears.
The question that needs to asked is...Can the service be operated more efficiently and reduce the $5 million subsidy?
Personally i think we need the ferry service.

Tom Campbell said...

I do think we need the Ferry service. $5M is not a lot to pay for a six month service, which can and should be expanded to 8 or 9 months. Putting money into an area that very few will visit without the service will not help the area. When I cross, and I do so frequently, the ferry has quite a number of cars on both sides waiting to cross. Not having it will dampen tourist traffic all over PEI. Anyone traveling from New Glasgow, Cape Breton or NFLD would have to loop back to the bridge to PEI. I think they would just keep going and stay in New Brunswick. It would at the very least require more thought and actions on their part to make it to PEI. The same goes for people traveling from the West - why take the bridge and visit PEI for a few days if I have to loop back and retrace my steps while on my way to visit the Maritimes or traveling to Cape Breton and/or Newfoundland.