Ferry Advocacy Undeterred

ferry 2

The Fort Simpson Chamber of Commerce is pressing forward with its advocacy for increased hours of service at the MV Lafferty.

Despite the statement by Transportation Minister Wally Schumann at the Chamber’s AGM that in the current fiscal climate there is no way his department can increase the hours, the Chamber’s board remains resolute. The Chamber has sent the following letter to Minister Schumann asking that the Department of Transportation make a concerted effort to find the necessary funding in time for the 2017 ferry season.

 

The Honorable Minister Wally Schumann

Minister of Transportation

Box 1320

Yellowknife, NT

X1A 2L9

May 30, 2016

Re: Ferry hour extension for the MV Lafferty

 

Mr. Schumann,

The Fort Simpson Chamber of Commerce would like to thank-you for finding time in your schedule to be a guest speaker at our annual general meeting on May 12. Your presentation was very informative and gave our members an overview of the projects they can expect to see your department proceed with in the near future. The question period with members of the audience was also well received.

During the question period we took special note of your statement that under the current fiscal climate the Department of Transportation cannot extend the ferry hours at the MV Lafferty. As you are well aware, the Chamber has been lobbying for this extension for two years and has created a strong argument in its favor based on the benefits the extra hours of service will bring to Fort Simpson and the Dehcho Region.

While we heard your reasoning, we agree with Richard Morland, the president of the NWT Chamber of Commerce and our second guest speaker, that “no” is just the beginning of a conversation. We would like to know how long the department is planning on standing beside its answer of “no.”

The Chamber strongly suggest that your department make a concerted effort to find the necessary funding to extend the ferry hours in time for the 2017 ferry season. As an organization dedicated to furthering business interests, we are well aware of the challenges the current economic climate poses. However, we question how the Department of Transportation and the larger Government of the Northwest Territories allocated the cost savings that arose from the closure of the Fort Providence ferry, its ferry camp and the construction and maintenance of the Fort Providence ice crossing. Surely some of those savings could be used for a two-hour daily extension on the Lafferty.

We look forward to working with your Department in any way possible to continue this conversation. After all, where would the NWT be today if everyone with a vision took “no” for a permanent answer?  You can reach the Chamber at 695-6538 or fscofc@gmail.com

Sincerely,

Kirby Groat,

President, Fort Simpson Chamber of Commerce

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