Dec. 3, 2007
QUISPAMSIS (CNB) - A new 24-car ferry officially christened the William Pitt II is now traversing the Kennebecasis River between Reeds Point and Gondola Point.
"Gondola Point is New Brunswick's busiest ferry crossing, with more than 1.5 million passengers annually," said Mary Schryer, Minister of Family and Community Services. This new ferry is a smart investment in a piece of strategic infrastructure that supports the economy of greater Saint John and New Brunswick's goal of self-sufficiency by 2026." Schryer attended the ceremony on behalf of Transportation Minister Denis Landry.
The new ferry is named for Captain William Abraham Pitt, who invented the underwater cable ferry and introduced it on the Kennebecasis River between Reeds Point and Gondola Point in 1903. He operated the ferry until his death in 1909. In the book All Our Born Days by Doris Calder, it states that the original ferry was sold to the provincial government around 1920, with the promise that as long as there was a cable ferry at Reeds Point, it would be named for William Pitt.
"We are pleased to continue the tradition of ensuring a ferry at this important crossing is named for an important figure in the history of this area and in the history of transportation in our province," Schryer said. "Captain Pitt's invention is still in use today at eight locations on our province's ferry system."
The $3.7-million William Pitt II was built by Fleetway Facility Services of Saint John.
"Fleetway Facility Services was pleased to be involved with this project. The ferry was built with local labour and expertise," general manager Dirk Larooi said. "This was the fifth ferry built at our facility for the New Brunswick Department of Transportation, all of which are operating as part of the river ferry system. Fleetway Facility Services is looking forward to being involved in any future builds. This project,which provides 25 person-years of work, enabled our company to maintain a high level of employment throughout the past year, contributing to the local economy."
The William Pitt II will replace the 18-car William Pitt I ferry and operate in conjunction the RGL Fairweather, another 24-car ferry which was brought into service in fall 2004. The William Pitt I will be put into service at the Belleisle Bay ferry crossing.
For more information about New Brunswick's ferry system, visit the Department of Transportation website at: http://www.gnb.ca/0113/ferries/ferries-e.asp.
MEDIA CONTACT: Tracey Burkhardt, director of communications, Transportation, 506-453-5634.