Getting here

Elizabeth MacDonald
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By now, just about everyone in this province has seen and appreciates the tourism advertising put out by the Government of Newfoundland and Labrador.

Those amazing photos and videos, colours popping, nostalgia-inspiring spectacular scenes, have done a good job – no, a great job – of attracting visitors and expatriates to the province.

Now if only the province would put as much care into ensuring people can actually get here when they make plans.

While it is a federal responsibility to ensure our ferries are running smoothly, and Marine Atlantic does a fairly good job, more needs to be done, and the provincial government needs to be the loudest voices calling for help in this regard.

The Port aux Basques route between the island and Nova Scotia has enough ferries on the run that, if one breaks down or is otherwise incapacitated, the others can pick up the slack.

But here in Argentia, as we've already seen this year, trouble or breakdowns leaves us with nothing but stranded travellers on both sides of the gulf, and some businesses benefiting from the change of plan, but others suffering.

It is no way to operate a business, or a ferry service to the province.

If it is, one has to wonder what the point of those wonderful TV ads is if people can't get here? It's very easy upon pulling up to the terminal in North Sydney and seeing that your already very expensive ferry is postponed or cancelled until further notice, to stay put and not bother crossing the gulf. Cape Breton has plenty to offer.

Okay, so nothing can be done to prevent some minor mechanical problems, but one would think these mechanical issues would have all been checked into before the start of the season.

Because the main point in this is that there should be very few reasons for a ferry fairly newly purchased by the government to have mechanical breakdowns, and perhaps more needs to be done to ensure these don't continue to occur throughout our very short but important tourism season.

Otherwise, perhaps the province should contact the Nova Scotia government and request they pay part of the bill for those wonderful advertisements, since they are benefiting where we fail. At least someone is having a good tourist season!

Reprinted from the Placentia Charter

Organizations: Marine Atlantic

Geographic location: Nova Scotia, Port aux Basques, Argentia North Sydney Cape Breton

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