Howe Island residents call for change after ferry service interruption

Click to play video 'Howe Island ferry service interruption causes island resident outrage' Howe Island ferry service interruption causes island resident outrage
WATCH: Howe Island Ratepayers Association claims ferry service is deteriorating.

An operator on the Howe Island Ferry didn’t show up for work Friday and that led to the 15-vehicle cable ferry shutting down for roughly 12 hours.

There is a second, considerably smaller ferry on the east end of the island so residents weren’t completely cut off, but resident Robert Ackley says the delays were considerable.

The Howe Island resident says he tried to let friends know about the shutdown when he found out Friday evening around 5 p.m.

“It was chaos at the little ferry,” Ackley recalled. “There was lineups until 3:30 in the morning, 3:15 in the morning, there was some scuffles down there, police had to be called.”

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Frontenac County did tweet that the ferry would be shut down from 6:30 p.m. Friday night until 6:30 a.m. Saturday morning.

The tweet was issued at 5 p.m., giving residents only an hour and a half notice.

Ackley says their needs to be a back up plan.

“I don’t know if we’re ready for some new management or what, but when stuff like this happens, heads should roll.”

The Ontario Ministry of Transportation owns the ferry service, but Frontenac County is responsible for operating the service.

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The Howe Island Ratepayers Association issued a release stating the ferry service is becoming unreliable and is a safety concern for residents.

Island resident Faye Muller agrees with the ratepayers association media release.

Muller says she feels like the ratepayers association is the only one looking out for Howe Island residents.

“It doesn’t seem like our local councillors are helping us and we feel a little bit cut off,” Muller said.

The ratepayers association has called on Frontenac County to amend the council agenda to allow them to appear at the next meeting.

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A Frontenac County spokesperson has told Global Kingston the ferry staffing issues will be part of the next Frontenac County council meeting.

The next Frontenac County council meeting gets underway at 9:30 a.m on July 17.