The ‘Wight Elephant’ Cowes floating bridge could be back in action this month.
The service has been out of action for eight weeks, following problems found in routine maintenance in July.
Cllrs Karl Love, Lora Peacey-Wilcox and Julie Jones-Evans asked to bring the item to the the Isle of Wight Council’s Corporate Scrutiny Committee so a solution can be found and the council can move forward.
Love: No more cloak-and-dagger approaches
Cllr Love said a cross-party representation is needed to work on a quick solution.
“We do not need any more cloak-and-dagger approaches, we want a short-term response to fix this.”
The group urged bosses to meet with experts who had come forward and offered their help to move things along.
Cllr Dave Stewart, leader of the council, agreed to the meet with anyone who could help, but had to be careful about legal action being started.
Stewart: Vessel “hasn’t been fit for purpose as agreed”
Cllr Stewart said the common ground between the group was they wanted the situation to be resolved, providing a facility for people of the Island and maintaining it after the ‘lifeline service’ it provided during lockdown.
“In my view, this vessel hasn’t been fit for purpose as agreed in the contract. We are now proceeding with our legal process.
“There are two stages, the first stage is the mediation and discussions and then if that doesn’t resolve the situation we end up in court dealing with the actual costs involved.”
Ward: Hope to get the craft back in the water this month
Cllr Ian Ward, cabinet member for infrastructure and transport, said a number of hydraulic components were affected by the failure of one or two other components, which all had to be removed and stripped back.
“We are now looking at getting spares to repair those — and I find it difficult to believe myself — but those spares need to be manufactured.
“The manufacturers hope to achieve the repairs, and we hope to get the craft back in the water this month.”
Stewart: Our priority is getting the service on
Cllr Stewart confirmed the month, saying:
“If all goes well at the end of the month we will have that vessel back in the water doing what it was intended to do. Our priority is getting the service on.”
Schoolchildren face hour-long waits for passenger launch
According to Cllr Love, more problems had been arising this week as people try to cross the River Medina, with some schoolchildren being forced to face hour-long waits for the shuttle boat services on their way home.
This article is from the BBC’s LDRS (Local Democracy Reporter Service) scheme, which OnTheWight is taking part in. Some alterations and additions may be been made by OnTheWight. Ed