Tuesday, April 14, 2009

I Believe In Ferries

Every village wants to be able to stand on its own two legs, and the Village of Gagetown is no exception. Shawn Graham, the Premier of New Brunswick, needs to save some money, so he's going to chop off one of Gagetown's legs. He's going to do it quickly and without much thought. He's not going to use a scalpel. There will be no prosthetic compromise offered.

Here he comes...carrying a hatchet.

He's not a doctor. He's probably never met the patient, let alone walked a mile in Gagetown's shoes.

The patient is the Village of Gagetown; the leg is the Gagetown ferry. Without it, Gagetown will never run again. Sure it can hobble along for years, but effectively, this is a death sentence to a village that was once groomed to be the capital city of New Brunswick.

My, how it's fallen from grace.

The government of New Brunswick will argue that there's a bridge just upriver from Gagetown should anyone want to get to the other side. Yes, there is a bridge, part of our four lane highway system that crosses the province. It's a wonderful highway, busy with transport trucks, RVs and cars. It takes tourists away from our province as much as it brings them here, but it is not a tourist attraction. It gets people from point A to point B quickly, not much more.

The ferry is a tourist attraction...plain and simple. It's all about the journey, not the destination.

The government of Shawn Graham doesn't get this, because they don't live here. When I visit Gagetown, it's partly because the Village of Gagetown is beautiful, and partly because the drive is stunning. The drive includes the Gagetown ferry. There is no drive without the Gagetown ferry. The circle will be broken.

Shawn, if you could "be, in this place" then you'd understand. The Gagetown ferry is to Gagetown what the Hartland Bridge is to Hartland. It may not make the most sense, but it makes us different. We are different. We are the people of the river, and we have been for a long, long time.

Mister Premier, we invite you to cross our ferry. You'll enjoy it so much that you'll probably want to cross it twice. A double crossing is always more satisfying, don't you think? I suspect that the Village of Gagetown is willing to reach a compromise that sees the taxpayers of New Brunswick save some money, yet keeps the ferry running seasonally. The Village of Gagetown is always willing to lend the province a hand, but a leg is out of the question.

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