Three eastern Prince Edward Islanders will provide recommendations on ensuring the future of the Wood Islands-Caribou ferry as the province continues to advocate for full ferry service.
The new Prince Edward Island Ferry Task Force will consult with Islanders to identify the ferry service’s importance to the provincial economy. Cabinet will share the task force's recommendations with the federal government - as ferries are a federal responsibility - while it continues to reiterate the importance of the ferry service.
Task force members include:
- Ray Keenan of Rollo Bay;
- Audrey Shillabeer of Belfast; and
- Scott Annear of Montague.
“The members of the task force recognize how critical full ferry service is to eastern Prince Edward Island and our economy as a whole,” said Premier Wade MacLauchlan, who is also the minister responsible for Intergovernmental Affairs. “Our government has been firm in its position that Prince Edward Island requires the full service of two ferries, and we look forward to receiving the task force’s recommendations as we continue to reiterate to the federal government the need for full service.”
Northumberland Ferries Ltd. announced in June 2016 that Prince Edward Island would not have full two-ferry service during that summer. The provincial government immediately attempted to secure a second ferry while advocating to both Northumberland Ferries and the federal government on the importance of full ferry service.
Specific goals of the task force will include:
- highlighting any policy objectives that should be addressed by both the provincial and federal governments;
- providing information on revenue, operational costs, long-term infrastructure and capital requirements; and
- identifying the potential traffic for ferry service for the next five to 10 years.
The Wood Islands-Caribou ferry contributes an estimated $27 million to the Prince Edward Island economy each year, carrying approximately 475,000 passengers, 160,000 passenger vehicles, and 18,000 commercial trucks. The service also provides stable, seasonal employment for more than 200 employees.
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Ray Keenan, along with his brother, operates Rollo Bay Holdings, a major potato growing and packaging operation
Audrey Shillabeer is the administrator of the Wood Islands & Area Development Corporation which has a number of initiatives based at the eastern entry point to Prince Edward Island. The Wood Islands Lighthouse and Museum, the train station café, as well as the Visitor Information Centre, all assist in making Wood Islands part of a visitor’s experience.
Scott Annear is the owner and general manager of Morley Annear Ltd, a significant trucking company located in Montague. Mr. Annear is also involved in the tourism sector with River Run Dining Cruises, which operate out of Montague and Georgetown.