Sunday, March 15, 2009

Year Round Ferry Requirement

Letter to the Minister of Transportation for New Brunswick

As Chairman of the Campobello Island Health and Wellness Advisory Committee, I am writing to let you know in no uncertain terms that when it comes to mobility and access to services, good enough is no longer good enough for the residents of Campobello Island. Specifically, our Committee has completed 4 of 5 Phases of a Needs Assessment Study in conjunction with the Atlantic Health Sciences Corporation in Saint John. As you may be aware from various media reports, we are actively seeking Year Round Ferry and Governance Options for our island community. In light of the recent Federal and Provincial Infrastructure spending announcements, the publication of The Finn Report and subsequent desire for the province to amalgamate service districts, it appears as though Campobello Island remains a jurisdictional anomaly at a pivotal juncture.

Restricted mobility of people, goods and services has had a pervasive negative impact on the economy, education, employment, mental and physical well being of our residents resulting in an unnecessary threat to the viability of our community. The work of the committee over the past year has been eventful, full of promise and an excellent indication that the timing is right for the island to take greater responsibility and accountability for its citizens and its future.

A great first step on behalf or your ministry would be the Inclusion in the Fundy Isles Ferry Project . Certainly a demonstrative example of what is possible appeared a recent article in the Telegraph Journal that there certainly is money to be allocated to a ferry for those already able to drive to and from the Kingston Peninsula to Saint John without having to leave there country and clear customs twice!

A recent article regarding the Finn Report in the Telegraph Journal has provided further confirmation and encouragement of our need to be proactive in creating solutions to our service delivery and mobility challenges by indicating that Campobello, "... be separate from any other municipality because of its limited accessibility to the rest of the province." As you are likely aware, Campobello Island is perpetually petitioning for year round ferry service. Certainly, we see governance as a means of establishing a legitimate voice by which to better manage our tax dollars, administer services and enter into contracts according to the priorities of the residents. However, there are numerous initiatives currently in the works to continue to lobby our various leaders to provide the guaranteed access and mobility we are entitled too.

Our committee has been fortunate enough to have the participation and support of MP Greg Thompson, MLA Tony Huntjens, Johnny St.Onge / Darren McCabe, Dr Verle Harrop (AHSC), Dawn Marie Buck (AHSC), Enterprise Charlotte, CBDC and Mt. Allison's Gwen Zwicker in assisting with the education and communication process to date in terms of Governance Options. In addition to a comprehensive island-wide survey and 7 days of community workshops, we recently held a Governance Open House providing a comprehensive overview of the various governance options and processes. As you can see from the attached Survey results link, 64% of Respondents indicated that a Government alternative to LSD was "needed or very needed" (survey results slide 29). Additionally, an unbelievable 81% of respondents indicated that a Year Round Ferry Service was "needed or very needed" (results slide 39).

I have included a list of additional reasons the year round ferry is criticle, a link to our Survey Results and additional link to an article in the Telegraph Journal for your review. We are anxious to move forward with dialogue and a feasibility study to determine what solutions would be most appropriate for Campobello at this juncture.

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