Travellers are rightly fed up with the ferry service across the Strait of Belle Isle. Passengers have been waiting on both sides of the narrow strait for days on end waiting to get to and from Labrador.
Families have spent thousands of dollars on food and lodging through no fault of their own and nobody seems to have an answer for them. The ferry connection is an important part of the Trans-Labrador Highway and it’s time the nagging problems were addressed.
Nobody, not even those stuck, would expect the owners of the ferry or the provincial government which pays for it to control the weather, but this situation isn’t new and will continue to happen if measures aren’t taken to cure it.
If the Trans-Labrador Highway isn’t going to be a year round transportation link then the government should say so.
That way, hundreds of people won’t be counting on it during our harsh winters.
But we are living in the 21st century and there must be some way to keep a ferry running on a dependable schedule even during harsh conditions. The provincial government is in the process of signing a contract with a company to supply a ferry and it’s a perfect opportunity to demand a ship that has icebreaking ability and can cross when ice conditions are severe. Doubtless it will cost more to have that kind of craft on the run, but so be it.
Millions have been spent building the Trans-Labrador Highway to link the two parts of the province and we can’t have it shut down for days or weeks because the ferry isn’t up to the job.
The solution is clear ... if not cheap — build docking facilities which can be used in all seasons and lease a ferry that isn’t dependent on help from federal icebreakers that disappear when needed most.