CARIBOU – Pictou West MLA Karla MacFarlane is calling for a greater sense of urgency about the ongoing delays with the MV Holiday Island which continue to stretch longer into the summer tourism season.
She joined Belfast-Murray River MLA Darlene Compton today and jointly travelled across the Northumberland Strait on the MV Confederation, meeting with the ferry crew, motorists and truckers to discuss the ongoing impacts caused by the ferry service between Nova Scotia and Prince Edward Island operating on a reduced schedule with a single ferry vessel.
The MV Holiday Island continues to sit in dry dock in Quebec where it has been since May waiting for repairs required to put the vessel back in service.
“There’s a lot of trade and tourism that happens between Nova Scotia and PEI through the ferry service,” said MacFarlane.
“Businesses in Pictou County are also being affected by the reduced service, just like businesses in eastern PEI are being affected. The federal government and the governments of Nova Scotia have been slow to recognize how serious an issue this is for both provinces and that has to change fast.”
The ferry service between Wood Islands and Pictou is a major infrastructure asset for inter-provincial trade between Prince Edward Island and Nova Scotia, transporting nearly 400,000 passengers and more than 14,000 commercial vehicles between the two provinces last year. Along with the jobs on the ferry there are also tens of millions of dollars generated in direct and indirect economic spinoffs in both provinces annually.
“Every day we have reduced service the greater the negative economic impact in both Prince Edward Island and Nova Scotia,” said Compton.
“We urgently need a short-term solution that restores full service and a long-term plan that will prevent this type of situation from happening in the future.”
Compton and MacFarlane jointly called on both Prince Edward Island Premier Wade MacLauchlan and Nova Scotia Premier Stephen McNeil to make this a higher priority issue with the federal government. Compton and MacFarlane both committed to press their respective governments for action.
Belfast-Murray River MLA Darlene Compton, left, with Pictou West MLA Karla MacFarlane. (Submitted photo)