Saturday, December 13, 2008

Group CTMA’s Pilot Project

Winter Ferry Service Between PEI and Islands

The Group CTMA has a pilot project to run the ferry service, Madeleine the entire year in 2009. The service will take place between Souris, Prince Edward Island and Grindstone Islands twice a week during the months of February and March.

Normally the islands are semi-isolated during those months. Yesterday, the federal government confirmed the acceptance of the project by way of communication.

The Magdalen Islands mayor, Joel Arseneau, had declared that he is largely satisfied with the announcement. He indicated that representatives from the Group CTMA have worked a dossier up that the federal government can recognize as a viable economic action for the Archipelago that will put in place two weekly ferry runs for the development of the islands.

The addition of the two weekly voyages will cost one and a half million dollars more for Transport Canada.

The mayor remind all Magdalen Islanders that it is up to the to use the service and prove the to the government the necessity of having the winter ferry service.

I wonder just how many people will use the service! I also wonder what the repercussions of having the ferry service will be for the lower income families, if the governments decide that the Islands are no longer isolated and therefore do not deserve the isolation allowance.

When the Voyager started to make it run once a week the government said that we were only half isolated and therefore cut our isolation in half. Does this new project cut the rest of the isolation credits from islanders? Will our imports cost more to make up the difference of 1.5 million dollars? Will the extra ferry service make the islands more tempting to tourists who would want to travel in February and March? After all, we do have the seal birthing during the early month of March.

There are a lot questions and a lot of responses both on the positive influence and on the negative influence of this project. I suppose only time will tell if islanders will want to get on the ferry, knowing that there is a possibility that the wind will turn and they will be stuck on the ferry for seven, twelve or even twenty-four hours until it is safe enough to dock into one of the harbours.

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