Loyalist Township granted meeting with the province for long-delayed ferry update

The new electric ferries for Amherst Island (left) and Wolfe Island (right) at the Picton Terminal. Photo by Picton Terminals by Doornekamp.

After an eight-month delay, Loyalist Township has been granted an opportunity to possibly move forward with their plan to bring the Amherst Islander II into service.

In a letter to residents, Loyalist Township Deputy Mayor Nathan Townend recognized that the municipality hears and understands the continued frustration with what appears to be a lack of progress in getting the new electric ferry running.

“I can assure residents that Township staff are working diligently to address all remaining issues, many of which are complex and challenging given the necessary involvement of other agencies and partners,” Townend stated.

As previously reported, in mid-December 2022, the Township was scheduled to attend a meeting with MPP Ric Bresee and the Parliamentary Assistant to the Minister of Transportation. This meeting was meant to be an opportunity to share concerns and challenges regarding the in-service launch of the Amherst Islander II. The Township had also planned to implore the Ministry of Transportation to deliver a clearly articulated plan, with realistic timelines, defining a path forward to commissioning the Amherst Islander II.

That meeting did not take place and was not rescheduled.

“Council has also been doing its part by lobbying our MPP, as well as the Minister of Transportation and Loyalist is pleased to inform residents that the Township has been granted a delegation with the Honourable Caroline Mulroney, KC, MPP at the AMO conference in London, Ontario between August 20, 2023, and August 23, 2023,” Townend continued in the letter, calling it a “significant and encouraging development.”

According to the letter, Township staff have submitted documents to the Minister in advance of the delegation, which “outlines a clear and comprehensive road map for bringing the new vessel into service.”

Townend said that residents can expect further detailed communication from the Township in the coming weeks when a way forward has been agreed to with MTO partners.

“I want to finish by thanking residents for their continued patience and understanding. Staff and council deeply appreciate the support we have received from residents, and we will continue to do our very best to maintain your trust and goodwill. Likewise, I want to express gratitude to our ferry crews and all those involved in operating the Amherst Island Ferry Service. Loyalist is privileged to have such dedicated, flexible, hard-working, and good-humoured staff, and I would ask residents to express their personal support to our ferry workers whenever possible,” Townend concluded.

Read Townend’s full statement on the Loyalist Township website.

Kingstonist will continue to monitor this situation and provide updated coverage if/when more information becomes available.

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