Town wants ATV access to Marine Atlantic terminal

Aethne Hinchliffe
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Dean Roebothan and his group of seven other travellers got off the ferry in Port aux Basques on June 25 to travel by ATV to St. John’s.

Brian Oldford and Stan Clarke wait to board a Marine Atlantic ferry on their ATVs. Marine Atlantic allows passengers to board ferries on their ATVs. Submitted photo

According to Mr. Roebothan, the trip was great except for a little glitch. The group, which was using four ATVs, had to drive along the Trans-Canada Highway (TCH) to get to the T’Railway.

People who wish to put their ATVs on the ferry in Port aux Basques have no choice but to use the main road or highway to access the Marine Atlantic terminal.

The Town of Port aux Basques wants to put a stop to this by creating ATV access between the T’Railway and terminal.

“You can drive right from St. John’s to Port aux Basques, and when you get to Port aux Basques, you must take the highway or the side of the road to get to the Marine Atlantic premises,” said Councillor Rick Farrell, who sits on the public works committee.

The idea, said Coun. Farrell, is those travelling by ATV would call the Marine Atlantic terminal to say they have a reservation. They would then go through the gate and proceed to the ticket booth.

“What I would like is they would make contact with the Marine Atlantic officials or the security personnel,” said Coun. Farrell.

The main idea is to get people travelling by ATVs off the roads, he said.

Marine Atlantic has ferried approximately 40 ATVs in the past couple of months, said Tara Laing, a spokeswoman for Marine Atlantic.

Mr. Roebothan said the experience of travelling along the TCH was a little unnerving.

“We had tractor-trailers passing us,” he said. “We just drove up, got off the ferry, drove up over that hill and then drove along side of the pond.”

From there, the group cut across the highway to go to Tim Hortons.

“It was very dangerous,” said Mr. Roebothan.

He said having direct access between the T’Railway and terminal would absolutely be a good idea, especially for safety.

Coun. Farrell said he’s not sure what work needs to be done, but is waiting to meet with Marine Atlantic to see if the idea can be accommodated.

This wouldn’t be something for locals to use to go into Marine Atlantic, said Coun. Farrell.

“It’s for the person who’s coming up through, and they stop at the hotel or wherever,” he said.

Coun. Farrell said he’s hoping something can be arranged by next summer so there’s something to offer to those taking the ferry with their ATVs.

Organizations: Marine Atlantic, Trans-Canada Highway, Tim Hortons

Geographic location: Port aux Basques

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