LEAMINGTON – Ontario’s government is putting people first by launching the new Pelee Islander II ferry to make it easier to get people moving and make sure that Essex County is open for business, open for jobs.
The Honourable Jeff Yurek, Minister of Transportation, and Rick Nicholls, MPP for Chatham-Kent-Leamington, were at the docks in Leamington to announce that the Pelee Islander II will officially went into service on April 6, 2019.
“Our government is taking a different approach to fiscal management, job creation and how to deliver core services by putting people first,” said Minister Yurek. “We are providing relief to the people of Pelee Island and Essex County by reducing wait times with a new, larger ferry.”
“This important service shows that Ontario is open for business, open for jobs,” Minister Yurek said.
The brand-new ferry will benefit the local economy by bringing more tourists to and from Pelee Island and making it easier for businesses to move their goods between the island and mainland.
“The ferries travelling to Pelee Island and the mainland are in fact a much needed lifeline for the residents of the island as well as for economic growth through agriculture and tourism,” said MPP Nicholls. “This new, modern ferry will make travelling more enjoyable and reliable for everyone.”
Last summer, the ferry arrived in Kingsville, Ontario, before reaching its destination at the docks in Leamington, Ontario. After extensive crew training and securing the necessary safety and regulatory approvals from Transport Canada, the new ferry is ready to enter service.
The new ferry replaces the nearly 60-year-old Pelee Islander. The Pelee Islander II is larger than its predecessor, the Pelee Islander, and can carry a maximum of 399 passengers and either 34 cars, or 16 cars and four tractor trailers.
“Our government continues to make sure that experience of real people is front of mind in every decision we make,” Minister Yurek said. “No matter what the service, regulation, program, or policy – we aks ourselves how the people of Ontario will benefit.”
Pelee Island receives nearly 50,000 visitors each year.
The ferry will service the existing docks at Pelee Island, Leamington and Kingsville.
A new simulator at Georgian College’s Centre for Marine Training and Research was used to prepare crew members to expertly navigate the vessel.
The Owen Sound Transportation Company operates the Pelee Island Transportation Service on behalf of the Ontario government.