April 26, 2004
(Transportation and Works)

Minister addresses scheduling of MV Apollo ferry service

Transportation and Works Minister Tom Rideout today addressed concerns regarding the MV Apollo ferry service schedule for the 2004 season. This ferry travels between St. Barbe on the Northern Peninsula and Blanc Sablon, Quebec.

The Apollo will be docking overnight in St. Barbe for the 2004 season. The MHA for Cartwright-L'Anse Au Clair, Yvonne Jones, has indicated that she is not satisfied with the decision to have the Apollo overnight in St. Barbe.

According to Minister Rideout: "Ms. Jones is well aware that the previous government gave permission to Transport Canada to allow its contractor overnight access to the wharf at Blanc Sablon. This was done when Ms. Jones was a member of the provincial cabinet.

"The Apollo is staying in St. Barbe because when the Government of Canada issued the tender for the reconstruction of the wharf, they indicated that the Apollo would stay in St. Barbe over night for the duration of the 2004 season. Permission to allow the Apollo to do this was given to the federal government by the previous Government of Newfoundland and Labrador. The present government will not change this scheduling because of the commitment given by the previous government last year."

Minister Rideout went on to point out that: "Ms. Jones' claim that this decision will somehow be detrimental to the businesses of the South Coast is incorrect. Blanc Sablon and the surrounding area have the same number of trips per week as last year and the Apollo will be departing Blanc Sablon at the same time each morning. The Apollo will simply be tied up at a different location overnight.

"This situation is temporary for the 2004 season. The decision was made to ensure that the wharf project will be completed in 2004. The Apollo can overnight in Blanc Sablon again in 2005."

Media contact: Lori Lee Oates, Communications, (709) 729-3015

2004 04 26       9:45 a.m.

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