Ferry users will have indoor waiting area in Corner Brook

Gary Kean
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Users of the Strait of Belle Isle ferry will have a new amenity when they arrive at or prepare to depart from Corner Brook when the service resumes this coming Wednesday.

David Chaulk, president and CEO of CAI Nunatsiavut Marine Inc., talks about the new indoor waiting area for users of the Strait of Belle Isle ferry service this winter in Corner Brook.

The Corner Brook Port Corporation and  CAI Nunatsiavut Marine Inc., the new operators of the winter ferry service between western Newfoundland and southern Labrador, have formed a partnership to offer an indoor waiting area for passengers.

The area will be in the heated foyer of the R.A. Pollett Building, the edifice which houses the port corporation’s offices. The building’s parking lot will also serve as a staging area for vehicle traffic.

There will also be a courtesy shuttle to bring walk-on passengers to and from the docked vessel.

In the past two seasons, there was no indoor facility to accommodate waiting passengers.

“The feedback from previous operations was that people were having a hard time finding facilities, so we’ve come to a good, positive solution for this year and now we can provide washroom facilities and a heated waiting room in a beautiful location,” said David Chaulk, president and chief executive officer for CAI Nunatsiavut Marine Inc.

Jackie Chow, the port corporation’s chief executive officer, said the lack of a designated area for waiting cars and passengers in Corner Brook was the top issue that needed to be addressed, based on the past two years of the winter ferry service.

“This really presented a problem for people who were being dropped off,” said Chow. “The hope was people could go right on board, but the few times the ferry was running late, people had to wait.”

The designated area will reduce any confusion about where people have to go prior to boarding the ferry, said Chow. It will also do the same for taxi cabs and other vehicles looking to pick up arriving walk-on passengers.

The hope was people could go right on board, but the few times the ferry was running late, people had to wait. Jackie Chow, Corner Brook Port Corporation

“Now we won't have people out on Riverside Drive wondering where people are going to be,” she said. “Everyone will know the courtesy shuttle will bring people to this building. It will also give people somewhere to wait so they don’t have to wait in their cars.”

Signage will be erected in the building’s lot to indicate where vehicle traffic can park while waiting to board.

The Straits ferry run was made a permanent service recently after being operated as a pilot project for the last two winters. Prior to that, the service was shut down altogether because of ice conditions in the Strait of Belle Isle.

Chow added this expansion of the service will give the ferry operators and the port corporation a better chance to interact with ferry users to find out what they want from the service.

The MV Sir Robert Bond will commence the winter service, which will be comprised of two round trips per week, with its first crossing from Blanc Sablon to Corner Brook on Wednesday. The first departure from Corner Brook is scheduled for Friday.

Chaulk said the operator wants to do everything it can to ensure its customers have a great experience using the ferry.

“We’re looking forward to the upcoming season and we’ll be addressing the needs as they arise,” said Chaulk.

For more information on the service, visit the website www.labradorferry.ca.

Organizations: Corner Brook Port, R.A. Pollett Building

Geographic location: Corner Brook, Newfoundland, Southern Labrador

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Recent comments

  • John
    January 18, 2012 - 08:53

    Why stop with a waiting room at Corner Brook. Why can we have one in Bay'Largent for the Rencontre East Ferry. No place to get a snack or use the bathroom until the ferry arrives and then a rush for the one bathroom. People urinate over the wharf because they have no choice. Time for someone if they want tourism in that area to look at a waiting area for the Ferry, Get into the 21th. century.

  • John Hickey
    January 17, 2012 - 12:02

    Why stop with ferry service to Labrador ? Why not make Corner Brook the official terminal and destination for the gulf ferry instead of the outdated and very inconvenient Port Aux Basques ? The city has the infrastructure to handle cruise ships and it's sometimes 6 or 7 thousand souls on board and provide them with more options and better scenery than the current terminal. It would be a huge boon to the economy of the city and the west coast in general. As a citizen of this fair city, I would love to see this implemented here..Port Aux Basques has outlived it's usefulness and is behind the times. We need to advance into the 21st. century...

    • David
      January 17, 2012 - 17:28

      So to recap John's "thoughts": Don't ever 'rat out' anyone in Corner Brook for anything, and let's just get rid of Port aux Basques. John Hickey, Mensa Hall of Famer.

  • David
    January 15, 2012 - 14:03

    Don't trivialize this tremendous 'feat' in planning. An adequate waiting area is as critical as the ferry itself......it will no doubt be very well occupied for extended periods. One suggestion: don't build it out of flammable materials. It is Corner Brook, after all.

  • lonenewfwolf
    January 14, 2012 - 18:53

    this will be the new marine atlantic ferry terminal when the mill folds.

  • Ed. A.
    January 14, 2012 - 14:12

    Good idea. we should make this so good that people will not feel forced to use it, but will really want to use the ferry service to and from Corner Brook.

  • Politically Incorrect
    January 14, 2012 - 09:00

    An indoor waiting area and a privy? Welcome to the nineteenth century! After a visit to the Toronto Island Airport with complementary snacks, beverages, Wi-fi, etc. (not to mention a very pleasant screening officer and staff?!) I was impressed what can actually be done to make travelling a civilised experience. Did I mention the pleasant security officer?