PEI

Are P.E.I.'s ferries ready to run? MLA wants to know

P.E.I. Progressive Conservative MLA Darlene Compton has sent a letter to federal Transport Minister Marc Garneau asking for assurances that the aging ferries serving the P.E.I.-Nova Scotia route will be ready to go in the spring.

Aged ferries on N.S.-P.E.I. route expected to continue another 2 years

The Holiday Island ferry, shown here, is 47 years old. The Confederation, the other ferry on the route, is 26 years old. (François Pierre Dufault/Radio-Canada)

P.E.I. Progressive Conservative MLA Darlene Compton has sent a letter to federal Transport Minister Marc Garneau asking for assurances that the aging ferries serving the P.E.I.-Nova Scotia route will be ready to go in the spring.

Last May, the federal government announced it was looking to make long-term changes to the service. Those plans included changing ownership of the ferries from the federal government to operators, and signing a long-term contract.

Ottawa has issued a request for information, seeking feedback on the plan from private companies. In the meantime government has signed a short-term contract for Northumberland Ferries to continue to run the service as is for two years.

Compton said the aging vessels need work or the service will suffer.

"It's February, people aren't really thinking ferry, but come the first of May they will be, and we need to ensure the vessels we have are both in working order," she said.

We need to ensure now that the ferries are in working order, says Darlene Compton. (Nicole Williams/CBC)

"I want to know from Transport Canada that the work is being done and being done now. Where is that work going to be done, is that work going to be done, and is the vessel useable the way it is now? Those are the answers that I want from Transport Canada."

The two ferries on the Wood Islands-Caribou route are 47- and 26-years-old.

The federal Transport Minister's office has acknowledged receiving Compton's letter.

The ferry service is set to resume on May 1.

With files from Matt Rainnie

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