Letter to the Editor – Campobello Island ferry proposal

From the January 29 edition of The Saint Croix Courier

Editor,

Some time ago, I read where anyone having suggestions or recommendations regarding the Campobello ferry service should make a submission, so here is mine! If this idea deserves consideration, this paper may be one of the best open forums through which to submit the proposal. Based on local knowledge as a former tour operator out of Deer Island, Campobello and Saint Andrews, as well as having been a captain on the Deer Island ferries for many years, I now offer the following recommendation.

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Campobello and Deer Island, in all reality, should be linked together as a mutual conduit for tourism and local traffic. Much time and advertisement went into the “two-nation vacation” concept, with the “Quoddy Loop” being one of the centrepieces of that concept.

The Province of NB and possibly our Federal Government have contributed millions toward the Fundy Trail and what is to be the Lighthouse Route. The Bay of Fundy experience is missing a vital link when Canadian and other tourists and denied access to a truly “Fun-day” travelling to, or through, these two islands.

The international bridge at Lubec, Maine, joins two nations and the Roosevelt International Park has been a hook luring Americans to President Roosevelt’s beloved Campobello Island. The Head Harbour Lighthouse (East Quoddy Light) is one of the most photographed lighthouses on the east coast. Deer Island’s Old Sow tidal whirlpool attarcts visitors from around the world, and Leonardville’s lighthouse on Deer Island could be developed into another major attraction.

The private ferry service offered through East Coast Ferries could certainly be subsidized since Coastal Transport is already being paid to manage provincially owned ferries. If public funds can be given to a private company to do this for the province, why is it unthinkable to have the province enhance the tourism and transportation sector ferry service between Campobello and Deer Island? Millions of tax dollars are contributed to public funds by these islands lobster industry alone.

Therefore, I propose a ferry terminus be established between Wilson’s Beach, Campobello and Hibernia, Deer Island. With the scow-tug concept, there is no need for wharf construction, only properly constructed beach road facility and leases for the use of said beaches.

The Province could undertake the responsibility, as well as ensuring this pay-per-use service is provided the fee for annual inspection. This would assure the public the service meets the standards of all ferries operating in the province.

The new route would present even shorter access from Campobello to mainland NB, and may be less prone to have the service cease operation due to weather related conditions. Theoretically, it could be possible to leave Campobello on the hour and make the Deer Island Provincial ferry line for its half-hour departure. This would mean approximately a 27 km drive from Wilson’s Beach to the highway at St. George, versus the 150 km drive through the U.S. The proposal seems reasonable to me!

R. Conrad Cline

Charlotte County