This past Friday, an anticipated announcement was to be made regarding the state of the ferry service connecting Nova Scotia and Prince Edward Island.
What resulted was an announcement, that said in future, we hope to make another announcement based on an announcement of set criteria that needs to be met in order for a future announcement to be made.
The Federal Government is seeking a 20-year commitment for a company to run the service between Wood Islands, Prince Edward Island and Caribou, Nova Scotia. Last summer, tourism and trade took a clear hit due to the aged MV Holiday Island being out of service. This left the service with one vessel running the Northumberland Strait. The Holiday Island is long beyond its ability to be a reliable vessel. There is still a significant risk that as the go-forward process unfolds, the ship could end up needing more costly repairs just to run again. Another mechanical failure could result in further impacts. Especially with Canada 150 celebrations just weeks away. People can of course turn and head towards Confederation Bridge in New Brunswick. This ends up costing people time and money. So the risk of losses are still very much there.
It was a short period ago when issues surrounding the year-round ferry service between Digby Nova Scotia and Saint John New Brunswick were consistently making news pages. The MV Princess of Acadia was finally able to be removed from service due to quick work from Transport Canada in acquiring a newer, more reliable vessel. The MV Fundy Rose may have its critics. At least it was brought in to the route in apparent quick time. Short disruptions in service over the Bay of Fundy proved to have painful consequences for many.
All frustrations aside, it is commendable that there is process is going forward with positive potential. A process that will hopefully see a newer ship join the MV Confederation during the ferry season. All levels of government seen very committed to keeping the service going. The service continues to benefit multiple industries. Most notably is remains a valuable anchor of Prince Edward Island’s tourism industry. That anchor should be able to be in place for decades to come. It is good for al involved to be looking ahead and hopefully learning from errors of the past.