By KAREN WELLS
FOGO ISLAND/CHANGE ISLANDS - With the MV Capt. Earl W. Winsor in dry dock and the MV Beaumont Hamel filling the void, the ferry situation for Fogo Island and Change Islands is a continuing issue for residents and businesses on both Islands.
Fogo Island Mayor Gerard Foley provided a transportation update to residents last week, informing them on the latest dealings to do with the essential ferry service.
Mayor Foley commented on the good line of communication between the Town, the Department of Transportation and Works, Marine Services and The Isles of Notre Dame MHA Derrick Dalley.
A delegation from council met with Transportation and Works Minister Tom Hedderson in January to discuss the ferry service.
“We are confident that the interests of the resident of Fogo Island are very much in the forefront with the Minister,” Mayor Foley was quoted as saying in the update to residents. “He and his staff are well aware of the challenges facing travellers and of the vital link the ferry forms for medical, travel, commerce and tourism.”
Items discussed during the meeting with the Minister included:
- Improving communications protocols.
- Additional boat and extending runs for the summer season.
- Ticket booth in Farewell and needed facility improvements to deal with traffic flow and waiting space problems.
- Summer schedule extension.
- The 30-minute rule and its application and a reallocation of spaces for Change Islands.
- Water supply at Man-o-War Cove.
- Emergency call outs and alternatives for medevacs.
- Cleanliness of the vessel.
- Replacement vessel for the Winsor.
“Minister Hedderson has committed to making improvements to the service, dependent of course upon budget availability,” stated Mayor Foley. “All the government Ministers that we met with in St. John’s had the same message - this will be a year of spending restraint - but this has not deterred the council from continuing to lobby for improvements.