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Fortune mayor concerned over standstill with wharf renovation

Fortune Mayor Charles Penwell hopes a solution came be found soon to allow the ferry from Fortune to St. Pierre to load and unload vehicles at the wharf in Fortune.
Fortune Mayor Charles Penwell hopes a solution can be found soon to allow the ferry from Fortune to St. Pierre to load and unload vehicles at the wharf in Fortune. Passengers disembark the Suroit in St. Pierre on July 10. The vessel is one of two new ferries operating between Fortune and the neighbouring French islands that can carry vehicles. The necessary infrastructure is still not in place on the Newfoundland side to load and offload them, however. - Paul Herridge

Town to write letter to St. Pierre to address issue

FORTUNE, N.L.

NEWFOUNDLAND AND LABRADOR

CANADA

Fortune Mayor Charles Penwell expressed concern during a recent council meeting regarding the standstill in finding a solution to allow for the on and offloading of vehicles and freight for the two new ferries servicing the run between Fortune and the nearby French islands of St. Pierre and Miquelon.

“I’ve talked to the port authority several times,” Penwell told council during their meeting on Monday, Sept. 10. “It seems when you talk to Earl (Rose — Fortune Port Authority president) he’s waiting on information from St. Pierre. When you talk to the MHA they seem to think that role is in the hands of the port authority. In other words, nothing is moving.”

Penwell suggested council write a letter to the president of the territorial government in St. Pierre to express their concern that there is no movement on this issue.

“If we get a response (then) follow up on that basis, and if we don’t get a response, I think that we still (have) to follow up,” he said. “I think we need to start moving forward to get a meeting with the provincial and federal, St. Pierre, the port authority and us.

“What are you going to run a boat for 20-years and not be able to load and offload vehicles?”

Penwell told council on Monday, Sept 10, that the port authority are waiting for documents from St. Pierre. In a telephone interview with The Southern Gazette on Thursday, Sept. 13, Rose, confirmed that the port authority is still waiting for a copy of a proposal regarding the wharf.

“They told us about a month ago that they were going to do it,” he said of officials in St. Pierre. “They were waiting to get it translated into English, but we haven’t heard nothing.”

Rose said he could not speak to the exact detail of the proposal.

“I don’t know what they are going to have in their proposal, they just said they were going to make a proposal to us but we haven’t heard from them yet,” he said.

“I don’t think that (officials in) St. Pierre realize that that’s what the port authority is waiting on and they’re waiting for something to develop on this end, and the port authority is waiting for something on that end,” he said.

Action required

With a solution for the wharf not yet found, and the growing fear that the ferries may soon look for another port of entry, Penwell said the issue needs to be addressed.

"We have two beautiful ferries coming and going from here and nowhere where she can load and offload cars,” he said.

colin.farrell@southerngazette.ca

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