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Transportation and Works
June 10, 2010

The following statement was given today in the House of Assembly by the Honourable Tom Hedderson, Minister of Transportation and Works:

Provincial Government Seeking Design for New Vessels
to be Constructed within the Province

The Provincial Government currently operates five contracted ferry services serving isolated communities along the South Coast of the island and one on the South Coast of Labrador.

Given the age of the vessels currently in operation, it is clear that the time has come to upgrade these essential services for what can truly be considered some of our most rural communities. In this year's budget speech, our government announced that it was proceeding with the construction of six new ferries to replace the aging vessels currently serving these communities — and that these vessels would be built right here in Newfoundland and Labrador.

I am pleased to inform this Honourable House that in the coming days, my department will be issuing a request for expressions of interest from qualified firms for the provision of a detailed design for these new vessels.

We are seeking a standard design that can be used on all six runs and which will provide an enhanced travel experience for both residents and visitors. The new vessels will be designed to provide improved passenger amenities and follow the Canadian Transportation Agency guidelines for Ferry Accessibility for Persons with Disabilities.

Expressions of interest must be received by the department by July 15, 2010, at which time we will begin the process of selecting a firm to complete the detailed design. Once a firm has been selected, we expect the design process to take approximately one year. Over the coming months we will determine the method by which shipyards will be selected to undertake construction of these vessels after the final design has been completed.

The construction of these ferries will mean a better and more reliable service for those who use them and provide opportunities for our province's shipbuilding and marine services industries.

With this latest step, our government is now engaged in various stages of work towards the completion of ten new vessels for the provincial service. In addition to seeking a design for these six smaller ferries, we have two medium-size vessels currently under construction, the propulsion system for a third medium—size ferry has been purchased and a consultant is currently designing a fourth larger ferry to replace the MV Captain Earl W. Winsor for the Fogo Island-Change Islands run.

Our government has, time and again, demonstrated its commitment to rural Newfoundland and Labrador and to the replacement of our aging ferry fleet and this is another great example of that commitment.

2010 06 10                                                   2:35 p.m.

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