Randy Hillier, MPP for Lanark-Frontenac-Lennox & Addington was disturbed by the news today that the people of Amherst Island will be subjected to further hardships and delays with their ferry service.
The 33-car Frontenac II ferry that serves the Island was shifted to Wolfe Island in April as the Wolfe Islander III was sent to Hamilton for its 5 year inspection and maintenance. A 6 week project started in April has met delay after delay, with the most recent return date scheduled for 14 September; today the Ministry announced that date would not be met, and the completion date is unknown. Presently, Amherst Island is being serviced by an 18-car ferry that cannot meet the demand, resulting in Islanders experiencing hours of delays and missed appointments.
“There are knowns and unknowns with this type of inspection and maintenance,” remarked Hillier. “The unknowns involve what is found when the vessel is out of the water and the hull is examined in dry dock, however, the significant part of these delays involves the refurbishment of the wheelhouse, which hopefully was never underwater, and should have been known and predictable in advance,” he stated. “Provided among the many excuses for the delays was the recent PanAm Games; the MTO’s story doesn’t hold water.”
“While the Minister was focused on High Occupancy Transportation Lanes in Toronto, he neglected the other people in the province that he serves, and failed to plan for possible delays getting the Wolfe Islander III operational. To complicate matters, the loss of manufacturing jobs in Ontario under the McGuinty and Wynne Administrations has resulted in the closure and bankruptcy of many shipyards in Ontario, leaving only one dry dock available that can service ferries of this type,” Hillier said. “This mismanagement is intolerable for those who are left to bear the burden for the inability of the Minister to meet his commitments.”
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