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Gagetown Ferry resumes service in New Brunswick
HALIFAX -- On Saturday, residents in Gagetown, N.B., witnessed a sight they feared they'd never see – the Gagetown Ferry, back in the water, ready for service. After it was put out of operation nearly five years prior, many residents are thrilled about the return of the service they say they never wanted to stop.
"I think it will benefit the area greatly because people won't have to drive so far to get back and forth," says Oromocto resident, Bob Clarke. "Obviously, the other side of the river here is part of this community."
In 2015, the service was axed by the previous Liberal Government as a cost-saving measure.
"That fall of 2015, the ferry was taken out of service, but we thought it was coming back," says Gagetown resident, Wilf Hiscock. "Then, as time wore on and the budget of 2016, it came out that the Gagetown-Jemseg ferry would no longer operate."
On Sunday, service will resume, and passengers will be able to board the ferry – a direct link to Jemseg, across the Saint John River.
"An intricate fabric of our community life, on both sides of the river, is woven back into the fabric of our community," says Gagetown Mayor Michael Blaney.
Hiscock, who chaired the Save the Gagetown-Jemseg Ferry committee, says he feels the village is now on the rebound.
"A ferry is like a bridge – it's no different," says Hiscock. "The bridge was taken away; we couldn't get to where we wanted to go efficiently. Environmentally, there's been many tons of fuel used that was not necessary."
Business owners who felt the economic impact from the cancelled service say they hope its return will bring tourists back.
"It's a wonderful link between the communities that we really missed and really need," says Greig Pottery owner, Flo Greig.
On Saturday, many motorists parked near the Saint John River to get a glimpse of what's to come, saying the return of the ferry is a win for the community.
"It's something that's needed," says Fredericton resident Maurice Harquail, who lists many sectors that will benefit from the ferry resuming service. "The tourism aspect, the economic aspect, the farmers, the local businesses in the historic Village of Gagetown. It's a good thing that it's back in operation."
Meanwhile, the ferry's first trip in years will happen on Sunday at 8 a.m. with service running until 9 p.m. – a schedule that will remain in place seven days a week until at least mid-October.