Committee hopes meeting will help solve ferry problems

Staff ~ The Telegram
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The Bell Island Ferry Users Committee says it had a positive meeting with area MHA Dianne Whalen today.
Whalen, also the province's Municipal Affairs minister, met with the group for about an hour and 10 minutes, said Bell Island Mayor Gary Goisine.
"We're always trying to be as positive as we can with these people," said Goisine.
Officials from Works and Transportation were also at the meeting.
The committee is hoping that the department will restore a 7:20 a.m. run on the Bell Island service by the end of the week so residents can get to work on time from the island.
Goisine said he's also asked for the taped messages on the service to be updated properly, which he pointed out "costs nothing."
Bell Islanders have been lobbying for years for improved service and will continue to do so, said Goisine.
Another issue is overnight medical emergency services, but some of the issues are tied to required periods of rest for crew and other Transport Canada rules.
The Beamont Hamel, one of two ferries on the run has been awaiting repairs while the Nonia fills in, but there are still delays.
"Our community cannot survive with one vessel," Goisine said.
"To have a reliable, dependable ferry service is the backbone of our community," he said.

Organizations: Bell Island Ferry Users Committee, Transport Canada

Geographic location: Bell Island

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Recent comments

  • Patrick
    July 02, 2010 - 13:26

    Not the same issue Maurice. People in CBS and the northern Avalon are already connected and pay more than enough taxes to cover the costs of keeping the roads open. Keeping two ferries operating for less than 5 thousand people just doesn't make sense. But like I said, if they want to continue to live there make them incur the extra costs.

  • Mark
    July 02, 2010 - 13:24

    for all you LOSERS that comment about the Bell Island Ferry , are some people really that ignorant??!! , I guess so and you all call yourself Newfoundlander , WOW I bet your not even true Newfies if so GET OFF OUR Beautiful ISLAND !!!

  • Patrick
    July 02, 2010 - 13:22

    I agree JAO. As a resident of Portugal Cove I cannot believe the money wasted on moving people to and from this waste land. Or as least raise the communities municipal taxes (their main reason for wanting to stay is a low tax rate) to help offset the cost. See how many want to stay then.

  • Bill
    July 02, 2010 - 13:19

    Maybe the Government should step back and let the people who live on the island run, maintain and pay for the fuel and wages it costs to run these ferries then lets see how the residents feel. All the residents see is the boats running all the time when they need them no matter what the cost. There have been millions of dollars spent over the last few years on wharf upgrades and repairs alone on both sides of the tickle not to mention what it cost to dock and make repairs and upgrades to the vessels annually and also when they breakdown during the daily routine. If there was an industry on the island to offset the cost of running the ferries then there wouldn't be any issues, but there isn't so I think its time Government had a real hard look at this operation. Then again maybe Diane Whelan wouldn't have got elected with out the residents of the island?

  • Just an opinion
    July 02, 2010 - 13:15

    Perhaps its time to reconsider resettlement of Bell Island. The provincial government spends millions of dollars to accommodate a very small number of people that live on this island. br br It's just not cost effective anymore. I realize that some people have lived on this island for many years, but sometimes you have to make changes. br br The millions of dollars that are spent could be better served going to health care, education, roads, etc. br br Just an opinion (which I'm sure will have heated responses).

  • Leona
    July 02, 2010 - 13:11

    From a Bell Islander who was born and lived on the island most of my life, I must say that for anyone who is making comments it would be nice if they got their facts straight before they blow their horn. For a community which in its heyday supplied the monies that kept many a store in St. John's running we are only seeking the same courtesy that all other islands are asking for. Oh, for anyone who doesn't know it the whole of NL is an island so should everyone move along. Bell Island has the richest soil anywhere, some people still grow gardens each year. The #2 Mine Tour has drawn thousands of people to our island during the entire summer months, there have been many homes built or other purchased and upgraded. We are not talking about a spot with a couple of residents. br Many Bell Islanders show the true meaning of what being a Newfoundlander is all about. Pride in your community - adherence to your past history. And Bill my boy, I'm sure that what ever area of the the great Prov. of NL you reside in their are items of infastructure that the gov. has keep going for your area. br I know everyone is entitled to their point of view but whether its ferries, fishing, sealing or recycling, don't be armchair critics, unless you've walked a mile in someone else's shoes.

  • Maurice E.
    July 02, 2010 - 13:10

    Patrick, the island of Newfoundland is not connected to the rest of Canada, so should we all move to the mainland? Far from a wasteland, Bell Island is a beautiful town, and if our politicians had more vision its tourist potential should be fostered and expanded (which would alos auger well for the restaurants, etc, in Portugal Cove.

  • My two cents
    July 02, 2010 - 13:10

    ah yes, the age old solution, pack 'em up and ship 'em off...how original. The people of Bell Island have just as much right as any of us to remain in the place they call home; to make it to work on time; and to have emergency service when needed! br ...and I'm sorry the millions of dollars to accommodate a few thousand people is also not quite accurate. Being from Portugal Cove I would think that during the summer months you'd notice the extremely long line ups of tourists both local and intenational, eager to take in the richness of this community. Not to mention the revenue generated. br Lastly, the taxes have been raised...quite substantially i might add over the past couple of years. br Bell Island has so much potential and like Maurice says, communities like these help make our province the wonderful place it is.

  • Maurice E.
    July 02, 2010 - 13:09

    Why not tell those who commnute daily from their homes in Conception Bay to their jobs in St. John's and Mount Pearl to move in? I don't hear anyone saying they should do that ---- and thereby save the government hundreds of millions of dollars to build and maintain the high speed access roads to the TCH so they can get to their jobs on time. It is communties like Bell Island and many, many more like it that make this province the great place that it is. We should put even more money into making sure that these towns remain viable.

  • Patrick
    July 01, 2010 - 20:12

    Not the same issue Maurice. People in CBS and the northern Avalon are already connected and pay more than enough taxes to cover the costs of keeping the roads open. Keeping two ferries operating for less than 5 thousand people just doesn't make sense. But like I said, if they want to continue to live there make them incur the extra costs.

  • Mark
    July 01, 2010 - 20:09

    for all you LOSERS that comment about the Bell Island Ferry , are some people really that ignorant??!! , I guess so and you all call yourself Newfoundlander , WOW I bet your not even true Newfies if so GET OFF OUR Beautiful ISLAND !!!

  • Patrick
    July 01, 2010 - 20:07

    I agree JAO. As a resident of Portugal Cove I cannot believe the money wasted on moving people to and from this waste land. Or as least raise the communities municipal taxes (their main reason for wanting to stay is a low tax rate) to help offset the cost. See how many want to stay then.

  • Bill
    July 01, 2010 - 20:00

    Maybe the Government should step back and let the people who live on the island run, maintain and pay for the fuel and wages it costs to run these ferries then lets see how the residents feel. All the residents see is the boats running all the time when they need them no matter what the cost. There have been millions of dollars spent over the last few years on wharf upgrades and repairs alone on both sides of the tickle not to mention what it cost to dock and make repairs and upgrades to the vessels annually and also when they breakdown during the daily routine. If there was an industry on the island to offset the cost of running the ferries then there wouldn't be any issues, but there isn't so I think its time Government had a real hard look at this operation. Then again maybe Diane Whelan wouldn't have got elected with out the residents of the island?

  • Just an opinion
    July 01, 2010 - 19:55

    Perhaps its time to reconsider resettlement of Bell Island. The provincial government spends millions of dollars to accommodate a very small number of people that live on this island. br br It's just not cost effective anymore. I realize that some people have lived on this island for many years, but sometimes you have to make changes. br br The millions of dollars that are spent could be better served going to health care, education, roads, etc. br br Just an opinion (which I'm sure will have heated responses).

  • Leona
    July 01, 2010 - 19:48

    From a Bell Islander who was born and lived on the island most of my life, I must say that for anyone who is making comments it would be nice if they got their facts straight before they blow their horn. For a community which in its heyday supplied the monies that kept many a store in St. John's running we are only seeking the same courtesy that all other islands are asking for. Oh, for anyone who doesn't know it the whole of NL is an island so should everyone move along. Bell Island has the richest soil anywhere, some people still grow gardens each year. The #2 Mine Tour has drawn thousands of people to our island during the entire summer months, there have been many homes built or other purchased and upgraded. We are not talking about a spot with a couple of residents. br Many Bell Islanders show the true meaning of what being a Newfoundlander is all about. Pride in your community - adherence to your past history. And Bill my boy, I'm sure that what ever area of the the great Prov. of NL you reside in their are items of infastructure that the gov. has keep going for your area. br I know everyone is entitled to their point of view but whether its ferries, fishing, sealing or recycling, don't be armchair critics, unless you've walked a mile in someone else's shoes.

  • Maurice E.
    July 01, 2010 - 19:47

    Patrick, the island of Newfoundland is not connected to the rest of Canada, so should we all move to the mainland? Far from a wasteland, Bell Island is a beautiful town, and if our politicians had more vision its tourist potential should be fostered and expanded (which would alos auger well for the restaurants, etc, in Portugal Cove.

  • My two cents
    July 01, 2010 - 19:45

    ah yes, the age old solution, pack 'em up and ship 'em off...how original. The people of Bell Island have just as much right as any of us to remain in the place they call home; to make it to work on time; and to have emergency service when needed! br ...and I'm sorry the millions of dollars to accommodate a few thousand people is also not quite accurate. Being from Portugal Cove I would think that during the summer months you'd notice the extremely long line ups of tourists both local and intenational, eager to take in the richness of this community. Not to mention the revenue generated. br Lastly, the taxes have been raised...quite substantially i might add over the past couple of years. br Bell Island has so much potential and like Maurice says, communities like these help make our province the wonderful place it is.

  • Maurice E.
    July 01, 2010 - 19:44

    Why not tell those who commnute daily from their homes in Conception Bay to their jobs in St. John's and Mount Pearl to move in? I don't hear anyone saying they should do that ---- and thereby save the government hundreds of millions of dollars to build and maintain the high speed access roads to the TCH so they can get to their jobs on time. It is communties like Bell Island and many, many more like it that make this province the great place that it is. We should put even more money into making sure that these towns remain viable.