Gagetown, N.B. residents continue to fight for ferry service
A committee dedicated to restoring ferry service in a small New Brunswick community says they're not giving up any time soon.
Residents of Gagetown, N.B., claim cutting off the ferry has slashed tourism numbers and seriously hurt local businesses.
"I've purchased land on that side of the river and it’s made the difference of being profitable and not being profitable,” says beef farmer and Gagetown resident Hugh Harmon.
Harmon is one of the committee members responsible for Save Our Ferries signs posted all over the lower St. John River valley.
The New Brunswick government says the province simply couldn't afford the ferry service, arguing it would cost at least $5 million to replace it.
"We have no idea where the government came up with that number,” says committee member Carolyn White. “We've never been given an answer when we've actually (asked), where's the evidence?”
The cancellation of the ferry has cut off part of Route 102 where hikers and pedal bikers used to explore.
"People who might have been taking that river valley route, they aren't anymore, which means they are not stopping into all of these businesses which are dotted up and down this part of the world," says White.
Based on a recent survey the committee conducted, most local businesses have lost as much as 40 per cent in revenue. Business owner Thane Malloy says he hasn't been able to compare data since he opened after the ferry closure, but claims it hasn't been easy.
"We’ve gone to increase their signage, increase our internet presence so people make the extra effort to actually find Gagetown,” says Malloy.
The committee says they are not backing down and will be raising the issue in the next provincial election.
With files from CTV Atlantic’s Mary Cranston.