Nfld. & Labrador

Province adds crossing to address Fogo Island ferry delays

Fogo Island residents say long waits for the ferry to get there are too long – a problem they fear may harm local businesses.

Some had been waiting up to eight hours to get onboard the Beaumont Hamel

Fogo Island residents say it's taking too long for the ferry to get there — a problem they fear may harm local businesses and tourism.

Some people are waiting up to eight hours to make the crossing to the island because the regular ferry, the Captain Earl W. Winsor, is out of service for repairs for the next two months. The replacement boat, the Beaumont Hamel, can only carry half as many vehicles.

The mayor of the Town of Fogo Island, Gerard Foley, said he worries about what the reduced service will mean for the area's fishery and tourism industry.

"We as Fogo Islanders are trying to create a lot more opportunities, provide more economic growth on the island," he said.

He said the answer is for the province to provide more substitute ferries and schedule more crossings. 

Late Wednesday afternoon, the provincial Department of Transportation announced that it is adding an extra evening crossing as a temporary measure until the Captain Earl W. Winsor returns to service.

The additional crossing will involve a departure from Fogo Island at 7:30 p.m. to go to Farewell, and then a departure from Farewell at 8:30 p.m. to go to Fogo Island and also Change Islands if necessary.

The move is effective today.

'Such a hassle'

Kaitlyn Caines is one of 2,400 residents who use the ferry to travel to towns in central Newfoundland for shopping and medical appointments, but she says they only go if they have to.

"It's such a hassle to put your car in the lineup. And then there's a chance you might not get back, so it's stressful," she said.

Ben Walbourne uses the ferry to do business. He supplies Fogo Island with building materials.

"There are four or five houses going up on the island we need to get supplies and this boat is a bit of a nuisance," he said.