Latest Wood Islands ferry issues result of ongoing government neglect
Wood Islands – The latest service disruptions at the Wood Islands ferry underscore the concerns a legislative committee heard from businesses, community groups and ferry workers recently about ongoing neglect of the service by both levels of government, says Belfast-Murray River MLA Darlene Compton.
“The message our legislative committee heard last week was loud and clear from speaker after speaker. That message was that you can’t do the ferry service with just one boat and it’s barely adequate when there are two ferries working at the same time. Clearly having no ferries in service for several days is the worst option. Especially for the ferry workers who have been caught in the middle and dealing with a lot of stress this summer through all of this,” says Compton.
Maintenance deficiencies resulted in the MV Holiday Island being out of service for all of the 2016 tourism season to date. The MV Confederation was the only ferry in service this season, running on a reduced schedule. Traffic on the ferry service was down a staggering 22 per cent in August during the height of a busy tourism season. A meeting of the Standing Committee on Education and Economic Development held hearings in Wood Islands last week on the ferry service where the economic impacts of the reduced service were clearly spelled out by the businesses, groups and individuals across eastern Prince Edward Island most directly affected.
“Losing the MV Holiday Island for the season was bad enough but now it’s clear that the added workload all summer has taken a toll on the MV Confederation too. Now we’re facing two to three days of no ferry service at all between PEI and Nova Scotia. Both the federal and provincial governments have ignored this problem for far too long with band-aid solutions and now motorists, truckers and local businesses and the ferry workers are paying the price for that neglect,” says Compton.