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LETTER: Fix the Bell Island ferry policy

Since the MV Legionnaire came into service last year, provincial ferry passengers have been told they must vacate their vehicles during crossings. That prompted a ferry users group on Bell Island to advocate for passengers who need to stay in their vehicle for medical reasons, but an independent risk assessment released Friday sides with the existing rule, citing passenger safety.
Since the MV Legionnaire came into service, provincial ferry passengers have been told they must vacate their vehicles during crossings. That prompted a ferry users group on Bell Island to advocate for passengers who need to stay in their vehicle for medical reasons, but an independent risk assessment released Friday sides with the existing rule, citing passenger safety. - File photo

How convenient for the minister of Transportation and Works and his bureaucrats that an election was called before they had to make a decision about allowing sick and disabled passengers to remain in their vehicles during the 20-minute crossing to Bell Island.

Now they have another reason not to admit they made a mistake and fix it.

I wonder how they sleep at night knowing the pain and suffering they cause each and every day to fellow human beings. Do they really believe that a double amputee who is going to be undergoing even further surgery and is in excruciating pain is going to be safer by exiting his vehicle and going to another deck?

Or the lady that has an immune system so weak from chemotherapy that even her husband has been advised to sleep in a separate bedroom is safer being removed from her vehicle and put into a germ-infested environment?

Let’s not forget about the woman who has had major heart surgery numerous times and has been split from stem to stern and is expected to go to the upper deck and sit in a room where the windows are covered and the heat is not always on.

As a former taxi driver I have watched my friends/clients go steadily downhill since this new policy was implemented.

Dialysis patients so tired and ill they could hardly lift their heads but they had to get out of the taxi and make it to the upstairs area.

I am absolutely convinced, as are others, that this policy of getting sick and immobile patients in and out of their cars on a 20-minute crossing has led to more problems than it solves. I would ask them to write to you but they are lying in the cold, cold ground.

This policy does not promote safety or well-being, rather, it simply transfers risk onto the most vulnerable members of our community.

You did not have to come up with the solution. You were given the solution. All you had to do was implement it.

But that would have taken some common sense and that seems to be missing among government cubicle dwellers and their leader.

Shame on all of you.

Kathleen Sweeney,
Bell Island


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