Ferry frus­tra­tions

Ramea and Grey River res­i­dents may end up wait­ing a full year for the re­turn of MV Gal­lipoli.

The Gulf News (Port aux Basques) - - Front Page - BY MAR­TINE BLUE martineblue­news@gmail.com

Ramea Deputy Mayor Lester Gould said he’s heard com­plaints from res­i­dents since the MV Sound of Is­lay, a swing ves­sel, took over the MV Gal­lipoli’s ferry route of Bur­geo, Ramea and Grey River on Sept. 5, 2017.

The Sound of Is­lay is a smaller, older ves­sel. Gould es­ti­mates ap­prox­i­mately one third of the boat’s cross­ings were can­celled last win­ter.

“De­pend­ing on who you were lis­ten­ing to, some­times the can­cel­la­tions were ques­tion­able,” Gould re­marked. “There were oc­ca­sions that some peo­ple de­ter­mined there were no prob­lems, the boat could have made a run to­day.”

Gould ad­mits the res­i­dents mak­ing weather as­sess­ments ranged be­tween “arm­chair sailors and peo­ple who would know the dif­fer­ence.”

The Sound of Is­lay car­ries ap­prox­i­mately half of the cars and pas­sen­gers the Gal­lipoli shut­tles. Gould finds that he makes spe­cial arrangements to get his car on the ferry ahead of him­self to avoid days of peak use.

“I have my ve­hi­cle in the lineup this morn­ing,” Gould said. “The ferry has gone on to Grey River but when it comes back, I will see if I can get my ve­hi­cle on, be­cause I’m ex­pect­ing there to be more than enough for the run tomorrow (when he planned to take the trip).

“I have arrangements with some­one to drive it off ( in Bur­geo). If I squeeze mine on tomorrow morn­ing, then some­body else won’t be able to get on.”

Gould feels frus­trated to know the Gal­lipoli sat in limbo for three months with no work be­ing done at Burry’s ship­yard in Clarenville, due to a stop work order is­sued by a gov­ern­ment en­gi­neer, fol­low­ing a boat lift in­ci­dent. “To be sitting there do­ing noth­ing, that wasn’t do­ing any­body any good, re­ally,” Gould re­marked.

Bur­geo- LaPoile MHA Andrew Par­sons, who acted as a li­ai­son be­tween gov­ern­ment and im­pacted res­i­dents dur­ing the idle pe­riod, says there is a rea­son it took so long to move the boat to a yard in St. John’s fol­low­ing the stop work order.

“The Depart­ment of Trans­porta­tion and Works, which had a contract with Burry’s, was in the process of try­ing to ex­tri­cate the ferry from the ship­yard, but to just take it and leave, let’s just say there that there may have been some le­gal is­sues there,” Par­sons ex­plained. “My un­der­stand­ing is that Burry’s won the ten­der when it first came out, but they got in some dif­fi­cul­ties in terms of hav­ing as much done, progress and what­not.

“In order for the depart­ment to make a move though, you want to make sure you cross all the t’s and dot all the i’s be­fore you make a move as sig­nif­i­cant as that.”

Par­sons said he is now “just happy to see some progress here.”

He ap­pre­ci­ates that some res­i­dents have is­sues with their tem­po­rary ferry.

“When the Gal­lipoli is work­ing there’s very few com­plaints about it, you can’t say the same about the Sound of Is­lay,” Par­sons said.

Res­i­dents hope the Gal­lipoli will be back in ser­vice in late sum­mer, but Par­sons cau­tions that time­line is op­ti­mistic and that fall is a more re­al­is­tic es­ti­ma­tion.

“You need a lot of things to hap­pen for th­ese time­lines to be met and some­times things hap­pen that are out of every­one’s con­trol,” Par­sons said. “When you don’t meet the time­line there’s au­to­mat­i­cally a sense of dis­ap­point­ment.”

J. R. ROY/SPE­CIAL TO THE GULF NEWS

The MV Gal­lipoli has been out of ser­vice since Septem­ber of 2017.

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