March 20, 2019 by The Canadian Press
HALIFAX—The Nova Scotia government says it will fund renovations of a ferry terminal in Bar Harbor, Maine, at an expected cost of $8.5-million.
It will also provide another $13.8 million to the privately owned ferry service for its 2019-20 operations.
The terminal renovations are needed because the already heavily subsidized ferry service out of Yarmouth, N.S., is shifting ports in the U.S. state.
Work at the terminal will see a fixed span and pier, deck and pile repairs, as well as moving the transfer bridge from the previous terminal site in Portland, Maine, and reassembling it in Bar Harbor.
Demolition work is also required for some outer buildings while construction work will be needed for a customs plaza and the reinstallation of security equipment moved from Portland.
Renovations to the existing terminal will also provide retail space for private operator Bay Ferries, public space for customers, and an update the customs facilities.
The renovation costs will be included in the province’s 2018-19 spending, which had previously allocated $10.9 million for the 2018 sailing season.
“The Nova Scotia-Maine ferry is a vital part of our transportation system and important to our tourism industry, particularly in southwest Nova Scotia,” Transportation Minister Lloyd Hines said in a news release Wednesday.
“We are confident the relocation to Bar Harbor will provide greater stability for the service and provide cost savings that will reduce the subsidy in the long term.”
NDP legislator Susan Leblanc said Wednesday in a statement March 20 that the money “would be better spent at home.” However, Leblanc acknowledged the service is an important international connection and economic driver.
“It’s very unfortunate that the Liberal government in Halifax couldn’t convince the Liberal government in Ottawa to help fund this important international link in yesterday’s federal budget,” she said.
“There are ports and wharves across the province that could do quite a bit with $8.5 million in new funding.”
The province said the ferry is expected to launch its 2019 sailing season using the Bar Harbor port at the end of June.