April 27, 2009
FREDERICTON (CNB) - The provincial government will work with community stakeholders to provide, through a third party, an opportunity for the continuation of ferry services in Belleisle Bay and the Village of Gagetown, Transportation Minister Denis Landry announced today.
"I think we have an excellent solution here today, one that respects the need for government to exercise restraint in difficult times while maintaining a service that these communities value," said Landry. "I want to thank the community leaders for coming to the table, and I particularly want to thank local MLA Eugene McGinley for his key role in facilitating this solution."
Landry announced that while the provincial government is still getting out of the ferry business in the two communities, it is appointing Eric Allaby, former member of the legislative assembly for Fundy Isles, to work on the issue. Allaby will work with stakeholders on behalf of the Department of Transportation to facilitate the continuation of ferry services in the two communities.
"Eric is an excellent choice to oversee this process," said Landry. "Having represented, for 19 years, communities that depend on ferries, he understands this issue well. I am confident that he will be able to deliver a positive outcome."
Allaby will work with community stakeholders to set up a locally controlled group to oversee operation of the ferries. At the same time, he and stakeholders will identify a suitable contractor to operate the ferry service.
To date, three potential contractors - Barry Armstrong, of Armstrong Management Solutions Inc., of Chipman, East Coast Ferries Ltd., of Deer Island, and Tim Tupper, of Jemseg - have come forward to express interest. Other interested parties would also be considered. A proponent will be chosen to operate the ferries based on financial and technical merit.
The two ferries and other relevant and related assets will be transferred from the government to the community-based group upon its establishment, and the contractor will begin operating the ferries on its behalf. The government will operate the two ferries daily, from 6 a.m. to 11 p.m., until the community-based group is in place.
As previously announced, the seasonal ferry in Hampstead will not resume operation.
EDITOR'S NOTE: Transportation Minister Denis Landry will be available for interviews from his riding. Grand Lake-Gagetown MLA Eugene McGinley and Eric Allaby will be available to speak with the media at 1 p.m. TODAY, in the Departmental Building, 96 St. John St., Fredericton. MEDIA CONTACT: Andrew Holland, communications, Department of Transportation, 506-453-5634.