The Conservative government's management of the province's ferry system is one the most obvious example of it's financial incompetence, not to mention an obvious disregard for the public's dollars. An example, yet again of the poor choices these Conservatives make with "scarce dollars".
A little over a year ago I was lamenting about The Rencontre East - Bay
L'Argent - Pool's Cove Ferry ferry
being replaced on an interim basis by the Northern
Ranger. A passenger and freight ship over 200 feet long. It has cabins
around 90 people. The cost to operate with crew, fuel etc is somewhere
9 and 12 thousand dollars per day.
A while before that I blogged about the bizarre decisions and processes related to the South East Bight ferry replacement.
Last fall, I had a great laugh when I learned the Conservatives were bringing the much troubled MV Hamilton Sound back to the tickle.
A couple of years ago she was decommissioned and sold for a paltry $214,000!
She was eventually purchased by Norcon and refurbished.
Last Fall, we learned the Norcon Galatea had been leased to the Province and would be on the Tickle.
The Galatea is the MV Hamilton Sound with a paint job and a few updates. She still can not cross the tickle in ice or navigate well because of her steering system which creates issues with operating in windy situations.
Not a lot is known about the contract given to Norcon for this bareback lease. The Telegram reported on the lease arrangement on Saturday. The costs are pure speculation at this point.
Could the lease really be for $6, 500 a-day, plus an additional two thousand dollars a day for maintenance.
Did I mention that the government is crewing the old Hamilton Sound and paying for all of the fuel expenses!
On those days when the vessel can not cross the Tickle, the operators still get paid!
Not a bad bit of work if you can get it!
But what kind of value is the province getting on the Norcon Hamilton Sound?
$8,000 plus daily adds up to some big change, considering the province sold the boat for only $210,000 in the first place!
I could not find an RFP related to a replacement vessel for the Bell Island run, so I am assuming this was sole sourced with out a tender.
Opposition Critic for Transportation and Works Tom Osborne today called on Government to provide a full breakdown of all costs related to the Norcon Hamilton Sound.
It will be interesting to learn if this new age of transparency and accountability will shed some light on this how this lease was awarded and the unnecessary costs borne by the taxpayer.
While they are at it, I wonder if the opposition might ask some question about the process involved in awarding the South East Bight replacement ferry a while back.
The taxpayers deserve better.
It is all about choices.