June 27, 2023
Rural Municipality of Belfast
Mayor: Garth Gillis; Chief Administrative Officer: Bob Brooks
Honourable Dennis King Premier
Government of Prince Edward Island 5th Floor, Shaw Building
95 Rochford Street
P.O. Box 2000
Charlottetown, PE C1A 7N8
Re: Essential Ferry Service at Wood Islands
Dear Mr. Premier,
I’m quite certain that you may be aware of the issue of the Ferry utilized by Northumberland Ferries being down for repairs for at least 4-5 weeks, with the second Ferry still in dry-dock in Quebec. What you may not be aware of, is the devastating result of not having ANY Ferry Service available at Wood Islands, especially at this time of year at the beginning and through the middle of our Tourist season!
The MV Confederation Ferry at Wood Islands, suffered mechanical issues on Friday, June 16, 2023. The ferry service is a pivotal part throughout the Rural Municipality of Belfast (RMB) and indeed across the whole of the Province! RMB have several small businesses that survive on tourists coming over on the ferry and are already having to close, while the ferry service is out, and may have to close permanently, if the ferry service is not re-instated, all due to the decreased tourist numbers.
Many RMB residents use the ferry to travel across to Nova Scotia to see family or medical care in Halifax – this option alone can save up to four or five hours of travel time, which in certain cases may be critical. Additionally, RMB businesses are supplied by Transport Trucks to and from business throughout the RMB municipality and across the whole Island. With the current price of fuel, the resulting higher transport costs also has the ability to put business – out of business!
Our final point is that if the only access to our island is from the western side of the island, then it stands to reason that the whole of the eastern side of our island is at risk of being able to prosper and/or could be at risk of even surviving! To that point – There is a great big sign as you leave Charlottetown saying “Ferry Closed at Wood Islands”, while the intension is to keep travellers informed; however, it is also a sign that encourages travellers NOT to travel east while the ferry is out! Not the intent; but is the effect!
In short, we urgently ask for your assistance and support for a quick return of a dependable ferry service at the Wood Islands – Northumberland Ferry dock. We also believe that a formal plan must be developed and put in place and return to a reliable two-ferry service at Wood Islands as soon as possible.
Thank you in advance on this very urgent issue. Please contact us at your earliest convenience, so we can resolve this very critical issue. Very much appreciated.
Signature and Seal on File
Mayor Garth Gillis
Honourable Lawrence MacAulay – Member of Parliament – Cardigan
Honourable Rob Lantz – Minister of Housing Land and Communities
Honourable Ernie Hudson – Minister of Transportation and Infrastructure
Honourable Cory Deagle – Minister of Fisheries, Tourism, Sport and Culture
Honourable Darlene Compton – MLA – Belfast/Murray River
Northumberland Ferries – PEI
Council – Rural Municipality of Belfast
CAO Bob Brooks – Rural Municipality of Belfast