South East Bight deservesbetter ferry service

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I have used the South East Bight–Petite Forte ferry on many occasions, as my wife is from the community and her family still lives there. We and our two young children visit as often as we can. This has been difficult on occasion due to inclement weather, which I understand is beyond anyone’s control.

Now, there is a new issue which is within someone’s control.

The “new” ferry, Norcon Oceanus, only has seating for 12 passengers at a time. I know South East Bight is not a large community; however, I have visited on numerous occasions over the years when there have been well over 12 passengers on board, especially on holiday weekends and during the summer. Now, people like us driving for 3+ hours with young children may arrive at the dock in Petite Forte, only to be advised we will have to wait an hour and a half or more for the ferry to make its trip and return because it is at capacity.

I would venture to guess that the ferry is going to have to make many extra trips to accommodate the number of passengers. There is one family in South East Bight with five or six children. If they are on the ferry, there is not much space left.

There have been many occasions when the ferry has had to make an extra run. This is an unnecessary inconvenience, especially if someone has an appointment or is on a tight schedule. Some people have resorted to going to the ferry an hour or more before departure to ensure they get on.

This should not be the case and is not reasonable for some people, i.e. those with young children, elderly or sick people, etc. People are calling around the community to find out who is going on the ferry so they know whether they will have an issue getting on. This will only create animosity amongst residents. Some people also use their own boat, which is not always possible due to unpredictable weather.

Also, there are no washroom facilities on either side for those that are forced to wait. Granted, the people of South East Bight and Petite Forte are very accommodating. However, not everyone is comfortable knocking on someone’s door and asking to use their bathroom.

I recently heard of some tourists who were planning to visit for the day, but decided not to once they became aware of the issues with the ferry. Is this how we want to promote our province?

 This past weekend was the annual garden party in South East Bight, which always draws a big crowd. We would have loved to make the trip. However, we really did not want to take the chance of being stranded, either going or coming, with our young children. I am sure there are many trips with very few passengers, but to have a limit of 12 passengers is utterly ridiculous.

If everyone in South East Bight took advantage of the government’s new resettlement program, how many million would it cost? It is time for the government to provide an acceptable ferry service for the residents of South East Bight, as well as family, friends and tourists who enjoy visiting the community.


Mike Rose

Paradise, NL



Geographic location: South East Bight

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Recent comments

  • Anonymous
    July 25, 2013 - 12:04

    Wow. It's actually sad how people in today's society can turn their backs on each other so easily. Once upon a time, Newfoundland was known as one of the friendliest provinces around and now we're sinking so low as to even judge one another on where a person chooses to live? @HAPPILY RETIRED "or do you even know what that means?" I am hoping that this was not intended as a stab as to say that the people of SEB are uneducated because I can give you dozens of examples of people from the community who are very successful and with college/university backgrounds to prove for it. In case you were looking for the definition of demographics it's the statistics of a given population. As for age, there are many older people living in the community as well as middle-aged families who intend to spend the rest of their lives in the town. There are younger residents who leave the community to further their studies and to find jobs in other fields and all love to come back to visit home. 100% of the residents own their home, 100% of residents who are able are employed, and that's just the tip of the iceberg. This individual presented his argument as to why the passenger load capacity should be increased, and this thread has turned into readers saying the people should relocate. Here's a fact... the ferry service is not handed to these people on a silver platter. Who pays for these services as well as every other transportation service in the province? Taxpayers. Who are taxpayers? Residents of SEB as well as residents of every other town in NL. When these residents pay their taxes as well as you, the least the province can do is provide the isolated community with a means of transportation. As @TRACEY has pointed out, SEB doesn't have nearly as much services as urban towns so really when they pay their taxes and it goes to fix the pot holes in Mount Pearl, what are they gaining? Are they not residents of this province? When people talk about "taxpayers", does this not include these individuals as well? My advice? Take the day to go to "The Bight." It has some of the best scenery and people in Newfoundland. Another statistic... 100% of the people you will meet on the road will say, "hello," to you which seems to be a rare thing in this century. This community has been serviced by ferry for years and is one of the few places left where you get a sense of Newfoundland history and hometown pride.. If we let these places go, what do we have left? Would we not lose all sense of diversity and heritage? The ferry passenger capacity should definitely be increased as to accommodate the residents and visitors and my suggestion is for everyone on this thread who hasn't been to SEB, to visit the isolated paradise and I'm willing to bet you wouldn't want to see it go either.

  • whyte
    July 25, 2013 - 11:25

    Maybe they should just be happy & appreciate what they got, rather then have no ferry. It could be worse! Its their choice to live there , so take what your given & be greatful.

  • Ed Flynn
    July 24, 2013 - 22:40

    One should be able to book a ferry crossing like a flight on a passenger aircraft.

  • wow
    July 24, 2013 - 21:20

    Wow. How inconsiderate people are nowadays. What do you want these residents to do? Pack up and leave everything they've known behind? What is the world coming to if all anybody is crazy over is Money! Grow Up! You've never been to South East Bight before, you don't realize its Beauty! Abandon it? Are you crazy? I'd like to see you pack up and Leave! Go to South East Bight and when you get back, only then you can talk about It! I bet you would be ashamed of what you have said in these Comments! Ignorant people not thinking about anybody else but them selves. Always have.

    • a business man
      July 26, 2013 - 06:58

      Personally, I don't care what these residents do. I just do not want to pay for any of it. I tis not my problem. Those who live there should bear all the associated costs, and those who want increased ferry service should pay for it. I am only thinking about myself, and I want to keep my money for me. These people are not my problem!

  • original townie
    July 24, 2013 - 18:03

    @ too case you missed the boat, Port aux Basques to Sydney forms part of the TCH. Your analogy is not even close. It would be a good time for you to get your facts straight : (

    • Too Funny
      July 25, 2013 - 08:14

      "Port aux Basques to Sydney forms part of the TCH". That's rich, especially if you keep in mind that other jewel of your wisdom "If I want to travel I put my gas in my subsidy". My oh my, the tangle in your inconsistent thoughts. Perhaps being the "original" townie means you have never used the ferry so here are some "facts" - 1) it costs more to use it than "gas for your car"; 2) it's subsidized. The only difference is that you benefit from Marine Atlantic and not from the SEB-PF ferry.

    • Tracey
      July 25, 2013 - 09:41

      OK Townie, it's now time for you to get your facts straight. First of all, South East Bight is not an island. Secondly, the residents of South East Bight also have to put gas in their cars. Since the nearest hospital, super market, dentist, clothing stores are all about 90 mins away- they actually have to spend a lot more on gas then you do. Finally, as for your statement "you also expect all other government services for nothing.... at our expense of course" is almost too ridiculous to comment on. Do you even know what government services are actually provided in South East Bight? Very little. There are no hospitals, ambulances, policeman, firefighters, buses, libraries, garbage collection. Nor does the government provide water or sewer systems for the residents there, they take care of all this themselves. So when you think about all the services that you have at your fingertips, and compare it to the services South East Bight gets- I don't think a ferry service is too much to ask for. Also here is another fact for you: Just this summer, in the NL Herald, South East Bight was voted one of the top 10 places to visit this summer. It's the beautiful, scenic rural communities like this that keeps tourism alive it this province. Since you are so concerned about the governments money, instead of wasting your time suggesting that the government re-locate everyone (which hopefully will never happen) why don't you help us lobby the government and get the passenger restriction on the ferry increased, as every extra trip that ferry makes to pick up the 13th passenger is costing the government a whole lot more money. That I agree, is a waste of money, as the ferry in question is the biggest ferry every placed in SEB so if the gov would just allow it to take more passengers there would be a whole lot more money saved. This money can then probably be used to improve all those government services that you use everyday. Oh by the way, I forgot to mention residents of SEB pay taxes as case you didn't know.

    • Mike
      July 25, 2013 - 11:16

      Well said Tracey!

  • Mike
    July 24, 2013 - 10:58

    Wow! TOWNIE, J and HAPPILY RETIRED are prime examples of the ignorance that exists within this province. I'd like to hear their opinions on whether OUR tax dollars should be used to maintain the roads leading to the rocks they live under. I'm glad to see some of the others that have commented have more sense.

    • Jay
      July 24, 2013 - 19:34

      Mike, OUR tax dollars are paying for the maintenance of the roads leading to the rocks which you live under as well. Why should the taxpayers pay for free visits to your summer home?

  • Jerome
    July 24, 2013 - 09:51

    We all love the tourism ads the provincial government have been running over the past few years. As a Newfoundlander, I feel a sense of pride when I watch them. How many of the videos and images had to be captured after taking a ferry ride? I would guess, most. If the government is going to advertise this place, then make sure that the people we are trying to attract don't have to sit in a rental car on a wharf, waiting for the scheduled ferry to come back into service. What will our tourism ads look like in the future? A tour of Signal Hill and Cape Spear with, maybe, a quick trip to Petty Harbour?

  • Happily Retired
    July 24, 2013 - 08:53

    This community should have been resettled years ago. Young people just don't want to live in rural/remote areas. This is the same all over North America, but for some reason politicians (for political reasons only) try to force rural Newfoundland as a viable place to live. It isn't! look at you family, they're all gone, and they ren't coming back. Cut the ferry service asap.

    • Eli
      July 24, 2013 - 15:06

      Too bad if you get sick venturing beyond Butter Pot Park. What a crackpot!

    • Happily Retired
      July 24, 2013 - 19:29

      The only thing that makes me sick is the waste that people like you perpetuate. People travel on these ferries for half nothing and they're costing the province a fortune. Get into the 21st century, people under 50 don't want to live in remote areas anymore. Don't take my word for it, just look at the demographics. Or do you know what that means?

    • Lena
      July 24, 2013 - 21:10

      Happily Retired, you certainly must not have a connection to any place called home or your statement would definitely not make sense. We realize the children will probably not return but we have a whole generation of people here who were driven from other communities during the resettlement program and they now call South East Bight home. Should they not be allowed to live out the remainder of their years in their second home, after having lost their first? Shouldn't their children and grandchildren not be allowed to visit? The urbanization movement is alive because of the ignorance of people like yourself who do not realize the wonderful places that rural Newfoundland has to offer.

  • J
    July 24, 2013 - 08:15

    Dear Mike, The rest of the taxpayers in the province are tired of our tax dollars funding ferry services for dying communities. What the government should do is force relocation on the approx. 92 town inhabitants. No wonder Newfoundland will never get ahead with the spreading of our tax dollars so thin. Any other normal place in the world and these little communities would likely be abandoned.

    • Unknown
      July 24, 2013 - 22:04

      There are more of the bay men's tax payers dollars going to repairs to over passes and rods in the city because of maniac drivers. And the people that do live in south east bight the age majority are above 35 and all of who makes decent living unlike the majority of St. John's living off the backs of the government.

  • original townie
    July 24, 2013 - 06:52

    To Mike (the author)....two choices here. Either resettle or the residents acquire private ferry services and pay actual cost to travel to and from the island. The rest of NL should not be expected to subsidize anybody who wants to live somewhere for next to nothing. If I want to travel I put my gas in my subsidy. I think you also expect all other government services for nothing.... at our expense of course.

    • Ken Collis
      July 24, 2013 - 09:26

      TOWNIE I couldn't agree more. You have to live within your means. Tax dollars should only be used in the same area they come from in Newfoundland. All the resourses in this province should support only the area they came from. All of the money from mines, oil, fish, electricty, crops, etc... should not go to St. John's. The folks who live there should live off their own resourses, not count on someone elses. Oh wait, the only thing that keeps St. John's afloat is government jobs. No resourses there at all. What a pity. BTW, South East Bight is not an island. I've never been there but I own a computer with access to Google and I can research a topic before I speak about it.

    • Jack-o
      July 24, 2013 - 09:29

      No subsidy for driving? Assuming you don't have a hovercar, I assume you drive on streets and highways that are all paid for by taxes -- taxes that Mr Rose pays. He also subsidizes our city's public transit, the police, the libraries, the Rooms, and a number of other services which he cannot access without the ferry. We do quite well from subsidies, so get off your high-horse. It's not that long ago that Newfoundland was subsidized by the rest of Canada, and you, no doubt will be subdized even more when you get older.

    • Too Funny
      July 24, 2013 - 13:05

      "Either resettle or the residents acquire private ferry services and pay actual cost to travel to and from the island." Sounds like something someone on the mainland would say about Marine Atlantic. Oops, but that would affect the "Original" townie.