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Cruise operators calling for prime minister intervention on LaSalle Causeway

Cruise operators calling for prime minister intervention on LaSalle Causeway
PHOTO COURTESY PUBLIC SERVICES AND PROCUREMENT CANADA - A lifting bridge in the central part of the LaSalle Causeway in Kingston, Ont. is set to be rebuilt. Landform Civil Infrastructures Inc., a Hamilton-based heavy civil construction firm that specializes in bridge reconstruction and rehabilitation, will start work this fall on the green metal structure.

KINGSTON, ONT. — St. Lawrence Cruise Lines (SLCL) hosted a press conference recently and was joined by Thousand Islands Cruises and other impacted business owners to call out what they’re calling government inaction in clearing a channel for marine traffic during construction on the LaSalle Causeway. 

Just over two weeks ago, SLCL president Jason Clark threatened legal action against the federal government if they failed to act on a solution that could mitigate revenue losses, providing a couple different proposals of their own. 

At that time, companies most impacted by the closure hoped that the Navigable Waters Act might be invoked to force action, but they say now with no progress made they’re forced to continue to pressure the feds to act.

Clark penned a letter to the Office of the Prime Minister asking for personal intervention from Justin Trudeau.

“I have had numerous meetings with officials from Public Services and Procurement Canada (PSPC) and Transport Canada and have been subjected to excuses, delays and inaction,” Clark wrote.

“I have instead been treated with lethargic responses and a vague estimate of 8 to 10 weeks. The result of this inaction is severe economic losses for several marine businesses in our region, and the economic damage to the greater Kingston community is in the range of millions of dollars.”

Tourism Kingston also issued a press release saying on top of the directly lost revenue for businesses like the cruise lines, the lack of passengers impacts other businesses. 

It added that tour buses are finding challenges with using the Wabaan Crossing for their routes, going as far as to say tour buses may choose to omit Kingston from their itineraries altogether. 

PSPC provided an update on the repairs, saying that options to enable marine navigation could be considered. 

“The repair work is on track and is estimated to be completed in approximately seven to nine weeks, based on current information. Successful completion of these repairs will enable the resumption of pedestrian, cyclist, vehicle and marine traffic,” the statement reads

“PSPC is also exploring two other options to enable marine navigation. These include the removal of a span on the East Bridge of the LaSalle Causeway or the removal of the Bascule Bridge, should unforeseen circumstances significantly hinder or delay the ongoing repair work.”

For the cruise lines and others trapped by the Causeway’s closure, the time spent considering the options is eating away at their tourism season.

©2024 The Canadian Press

Recent Comments (1 comments)

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HaroldH Image HaroldH

How about tour buses use Division st or SJA to Brock

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