Pelee Islander II set for April launch despite lingering concerns
The Pelee Islander II is scheduled to make its maiden voyage in just two months.
The new $40 million ferry, meant to service Pelee Island from Leamington, has been docked since it arrived in June.
The vessel was originally scheduled to set sail in September. But on Friday, Pelee Island Mayor Ray Durocher confirmed to CTV Windsor the ship is now expected to set off on its first trip on April 5.
“Their delay was for the safety and regulations from the federal government and that took three months to get approval,” says Durocher.
The mayor says he’s been given assurances the ship performed well in a test sale in the fall and the ferry crew has been fully trained.
“We've had meetings with [the Ministry of Transportation] and the staff in London and they both assured us that the ferry is good to go,” says Durocher.
The targeted spring launch still comes with questions for Essex MPP Taras Natyshak.
The NDP member is worried about potential electrical failings and engine problems.
“We're already seeing that the quality is compromised and that will reflect poorly on the travellers and those that are going to be on that vessel,” says Natyshak.
However, the provincial government is confident the Pelee Islander II will be ready for the April 5 launch date.
“None of the issues will impact the in-service date,” says Rick Nicholls, the Progressive Conservative MPP for Chatham-Kent-Leamington. “They've all been covered under warranty and the good news is, it did not cost our tax payers any extra costs.”
Despite the government’s assurances, Natyshak still isn’t comfortable with the planned launch in April.
Natyshak feels the process to launch the ferry has been flawed.
“When I hear the vessel has issues with those critical systems then my job is to make sure that those questions are answered and at this moment with that information at hand, I'm not comfortable until we see those answers out in the open,” says Natyshak.
The MPP is now drafting a letter to the MTO calling for answers on how this process was carried out.