Skip to main content
The Globe and Mail
Get full access to globeandmail.com
Support quality journalism
Just $1.99 per week for the first 24 weeks
Just $1.99 per week for the first 24 weeks
The Globe and Mail
Support quality journalism
Get full access to globeandmail.com
Globe and Mail website displayed on various devices
Just$1.99
per week
for the first 24 weeks

var select={root:".js-sub-pencil",control:".js-sub-pencil-control",open:"o-sub-pencil--open",closed:"o-sub-pencil--closed"},dom={},allowExpand=!0;function pencilInit(o){var e=arguments.length>1&&void 0!==arguments[1]&&arguments[1];select.root=o,dom.root=document.querySelector(select.root),dom.root&&(dom.control=document.querySelector(select.control),dom.control.addEventListener("click",onToggleClicked),setPanelState(e),window.addEventListener("scroll",onWindowScroll),dom.root.removeAttribute("hidden"))}function isPanelOpen(){return dom.root.classList.contains(select.open)}function setPanelState(o){dom.root.classList[o?"add":"remove"](select.open),dom.root.classList[o?"remove":"add"](select.closed),dom.control.setAttribute("aria-expanded",o)}function onToggleClicked(){var l=!isPanelOpen();setPanelState(l)}function onWindowScroll(){console.log("scroll");var l=isPanelOpen(),n=0===(document.body.scrollTop||document.documentElement.scrollTop);n||l||!allowExpand?n&&l&&(allowExpand=!0,setPanelState(!1)):(allowExpand=!1,setPanelState(!0))}pencilInit(".js-sub-pencil",!1);

The CAT, a high-speed passenger ferry, departs Yarmouth, N.S., in a June 15, 2016, file photo.

Andrew Vaughan/The Canadian Press

The heavily subsidized ferry service that links Nova Scotia with Maine cost provincial taxpayers an extra $4 million as it sat idle for the entire 2019 sailing season, the government revealed Friday.

Education Minister Zach Churchill released the figure following an announcement by operator Bay Ferries that it would begin sailing this year between Yarmouth, N.S., and Bar Harbor, Maine, on June 26.

Churchill, who represents the Yarmouth riding, said the overrun is related to costs associated with tying up the ferry and upgrading the U.S. terminal.

Story continues below advertisement

“The obvious reason for that is because you are not bringing in revenue if you are not running,” Churchill told reporters.

The added cost includes an additional $1.6 million to meet border service requirements at the terminal and $2.4 million to cover the fixed costs of the service, including the crew and terminal leases on both sides of border.

It brings the total cost to the province last year to $17.8 million.

Churchill said the funding would be appreciated in his constituency and surrounding areas, where the estimated value of the tourism industry when the ferry is running is about $70 million.

He said that justifies the extra expense to maintain the service.

“There is a return on investment for Nova Scotians, and it’s absolutely critical for the economic sustainability of southwestern Nova Scotia,” he said.

The season was scrapped last year when Bay Ferries was unable to get construction work completed in order to meet U.S. Customs and Border Protection specifications at the Bar Harbor ferry terminal.

Story continues below advertisement

The work was necessary after the company moved its U.S entry point from Portland, Maine, where the ferry had operated for five years.

In a news release, Bay Ferries said tickets are now on sale for the upcoming season, although it cautioned that some work remains to be completed in Bar Harbor.

Bay Ferries said depending on the progress of construction, sailings could commence earlier or later than the target date. A startup would also depend on when U.S. authorities approve the terminal work.

“We are grateful for the continued strong support and patience of customers, community partners, and governments as this project has moved toward completion,” said company CEO Mark MacDonald.

Bay Ferries said it plans one daily round trip – departing Yarmouth at 9:30 a.m. and departing Bar Harbor at 3 p.m. – until after Labour Day when there will be six crossings per week until October 13.

Last year, work at the terminal forced Bay Ferries to cancel and delay bookings several times before finally suspending them in July.

Story continues below advertisement

Transportation Minister Lloyd Hines said he’s confident there won’t be a repeat of that scenario this year.

Progressive Conservative Leader Tim Houston said he will remain skeptical until the ferry actually completes a scheduled run.

“Last year we were hearing right up until late August that there would be a season, so it’s hard to take those types of statements at face value,” Houston said. “It has the potential to be a very valuable service to Nova Scotians, but only when it leaves the wharf.”

Our Morning Update and Evening Update newsletters are written by Globe editors, giving you a concise summary of the day’s most important headlines. Sign up today.

Related topics

Report an error
Due to technical reasons, we have temporarily removed commenting from our articles. We hope to have this fixed soon. Thank you for your patience. If you are looking to give feedback on our new site, please send it along to feedback@globeandmail.com. If you want to write a letter to the editor, please forward to letters@globeandmail.com.

Welcome to The Globe and Mail’s comment community. This is a space where subscribers can engage with each other and Globe staff. Non-subscribers can read and sort comments but will not be able to engage with them in any way. Click here to subscribe.

If you would like to write a letter to the editor, please forward it to letters@globeandmail.com. Readers can also interact with The Globe on Facebook and Twitter .

Welcome to The Globe and Mail’s comment community. This is a space where subscribers can engage with each other and Globe staff. Non-subscribers can read and sort comments but will not be able to engage with them in any way. Click here to subscribe.

If you would like to write a letter to the editor, please forward it to letters@globeandmail.com. Readers can also interact with The Globe on Facebook and Twitter .

Welcome to The Globe and Mail’s comment community. This is a space where subscribers can engage with each other and Globe staff.

We aim to create a safe and valuable space for discussion and debate. That means:

  • Treat others as you wish to be treated
  • Criticize ideas, not people
  • Stay on topic
  • Avoid the use of toxic and offensive language
  • Flag bad behaviour

Comments that violate our community guidelines will be removed.

Read our community guidelines here

Discussion loading ...

To view this site properly, enable cookies in your browser. Read our privacy policy to learn more.
How to enable cookies