The provincial government is facing criticism for not awarding a ferry tender for the Strait of Belle Isle run, in part because the ad wasn't written properly.

Government put the tender out back in January, but recently hired a company outside of the process.


Transportation Minister Paul Davis. (CBC)

Minister of Transportation Paul Davis said the specifications in the ad should have been clearer.

"While we did indicate that the vessels had to be able to load and off-load in an effective and efficient manner, we hadn't specified roll-on, roll-off vessels," Davis said.

"As the process rolled out and moved forward, it became clear to the department that the tender could have been more clearly written to effectively capture what we would consider to be the desired elements of the service."

The government said it hired Labrador Marine outside the tendering process to provide the service this year because its vessel, the MV Apollo, was equipped to do the job.

Poor planning, businessman says

A Labrador businessman said the provincial government should have put the tender out much sooner than it did.

Stelman Flynn, a resident of Forteau, said it takes more time than was provided to get a vessel prepared for the crossing.

"If they were serious about tendering this contract, that should have been done in July of 2012, not in January of 2013 for an operation that starts April first," Flynn said.

"It is, I think, some of the worst planning that I have seen in my lifetime, associated with this particular work."

Flynn said there has been a lack of understanding of the needs of Labrador.

"Where else in the modern world would you see this kind of 'I don't care' attitude on behalf of government," he said.