Sept. 10, 2009
GAGETOWN (CNB) - Government will accept the recommendation of a community working group to continue ferry services in two St. John River Valley communities, Premier Shawn Graham and Transportation Minister Denis Landry announced today.
After extensive study, the working group uncovered precedent in British Columbia which, if applied to New Brunswick, would allow government to continue to operate the ferries with efficiencies that would save $1.2 million annually in operational cost as originally set out by government.
"I believe that this is an excellent solution for these communities," said Graham. "Our government has set our province on a mission to achieve self-sufficiency, and the dedicated volunteers in this working group have taken the kind of initiative that our province needs to achieve that goal."
"These are difficult economic times, and government has to manage its expenditures responsibly," said Landry. "Our goal was to find $1.2 million in savings, and we asked Eric Allaby to co-ordinate this working group to find another solution. We welcome this solution today; it strikes an excellent balance between the needs of the community and the fiscal realities facing our province."
The working group recommended that government operate the Belleisle ferry year-round from 5 a.m. to 2 a.m. It also recommended that government operate the Gagetown ferry from 6 a.m. to midnight until the river freezes later this year, and in subsequent years from 6 a.m to midnight from the conclusion of the spring flood season until freezing.
Subject to Transport Canada approvals, a number of ferry services in the St. John River Valley will become one-person crews where feasible.
EDITOR'S NOTE: A summary of the working group report is available online. MEDIA CONTACT: Communications, Office of the Premier, 506-453-2144.