When it was announced that the Gagetown Ferry was to be eliminated the reasons given were incorrect.
However, that doesn’t stop Minister Melanson from repeating them every chance he gets. The truth is the distance to drive around is 66 kilometres, not 15, the Gagetown Ferry does not have the lowest ridership in the fleet, and the Gagetown Ferry may well be in compliance, as the province has never asked Transport Canada to inspect it. If it is in compliance then the need for the much quoted $5 million replacement ferry is just more spin to justify this very questionable decision.
Last spring the government said it spent $100,000 to refit the Gagetown Ferry. It was brought back to service on July 28 and operated, under DOT license, 18 hours a day until Dec. 1, 2016 at a cost of approximately $150,000. At that time the ferry was taken to winter quarters in Evandale and has not moved since. Logically, one would think that if the ferry was serviceable on Nov. 30 of last year, then it would still be serviceable.
So what is really behind this decision? Is it just very small-time politics, spending money in Liberal ridings and not in Conservative ridings? This could well be the case if one looks at where the bulk of this year’s DTI budget is being allocated.
Is it a move to eliminate other cable ferries? If so, could the Belleisle Ferry be next?
Or was it just a poorly thought-out decision that, once made, the government has decided to stick to its guns? There was no consultation around this issue during the strategic review period.
Whatever the reason, it is evident that the decision to eliminate the Gagetown Ferry was wrong and needs to be reversed.