Wood Islands ferry important economic infrastructure: Lantz
CHARLOTTETOWN – A move to downgrade scale house services at the Wood Islands ferry could have wide-ranging economic consequences for eastern Prince Edward Island, says Progressive Conservative Leader Rob Lantz.
Lantz made his comments after learning that the permanent scale house operation in Wood Islands will be downgraded and replaced with a mobile scale service.
“The Wood Islands ferry serves as a vital transportation link for trade and tourism in eastern Prince Edward Island. Supporting road safety, expanding exports and ensuring a long-term ferry presence have been standing policy goals of government but downgrading infrastructure to support those goals weakens that commitment. Especially when it’s far from clear whether the service downgrade will result in any cost savings,” says Lantz.
The Wood Island ferry was used by more than 14,000 commercial vehicles in 2014, shipping a wide variety of Island goods and products to off-Island markets. The scale house operation serves to ensure that hauling of overweight loads to and from the Island doesn’t occur. Overweight loads can accelerate the decline of road infrastructure, require additional expenditures to repair Island roads.
Local MLA and Opposition Finance Critic Darlene Compton added that the province doesn’t appear to have done any cost-benefit analysis to determine whether the assumed cost savings will be outstripped by added costs for road repairs due to an anticipated uptick in overweight loads.
“I’ve spoken with operators in the transportation sector and local businesses who question whether this change will save any money due to the likelihood of increased wear and tear on roads from overweight loads,” says Compton. “The ferry generates a lot of direct and indirect employment in eastern Prince Edward Island in the trucking, primary, tourism and retail sectors. I’m not sure how downgrading the support services will help grow our economy.”