LITTLE CURRENT – As the Great Lakes region faces serious economic consequences as a result of low water levels, NDP MP Carol Hughes (Algoma—Manitoulin—Kapuskasing) is demanding the Conservatives fulfill their obligations to the Chi-Cheemaun ferry upgrades.
“With low water levels, the Chi-Cheemaun can’t run, which will be devastating to the local economy. Businesses on the Bruce Peninsula, North Shore and Manitoulin Island could go under if the season doesn’t start on time,” said Hughes. “There are so many jobs at risk – including student summer jobs –because the Conservatives have not taken any action to adapt the ferry terminals to persistently low water levels.”
Lake Huron dipped to its lowest level ever recorded this winter, making the Chi-Cheemaun ferry unable to dock safely for passengers and crew. The cost for updating the Transport Canada-operated terminals is said to be under $300,000 – a small price to pay for the life line of the local economy.
“How can a government that sets it sails on job creation and the economy dismiss vital work that should have been completed by mid-April? This just goes to show that the Conservatives are not concerned about the Great Lakes or the economy of communities struggling with the challenges specific to low water levels,” said Hughes.
New Democrats are calling on the Conservative government to update both terminals and dredge the harbour on Manitoulin Island so the anchor for regional tourism can operate a full season.
NDP Press Release – April 30-13