Federal government commits $2.5 million to ferry terminal work

Tina Comeau
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By Tina Comeau




Work is underway to ready the ferry terminal on Water Street for the resumption of ferry service between Yarmouth and Portland and on Monday afternoon, Jan. 20, the federal government confirmed a commitment of up to $2.5 million that it will spend on the rehabilitation of the ferry terminal.

The federal funding contribution to the work at the ferry terminal was similar to the amount that had been referred to, although not confirmed, last November when the government said it would fund the bulk of the cost of the work. At the Yarmouth town hall on Monday, West Nova MP Greg Kerr said this wasn’t so much a funding announcement, but rather a funding confirmation.

Some of the work got underway in December and was completed in early January. Other work is underway now – or scheduled to begin soon – and isn’t expected to all be completed until April.

The company that will run the Nova Star ferry service has said it is targeting a May 1 start-up for the ferry service.

“Marine infrastructure investments are good for our communities’ quality of life, tourism and economy,” Kerr said about the federal funds going into the terminal project. “Rehabilitation of the ferry terminal and the transfer to the town of Yarmouth, supports ferry services in the long-term.”

A signing ceremony to officially transfer the ownership of the ferry terminal to the town of Yarmouth took place in early December. The town has identified to Yarmouth Area Industrial Commission to be the project manager for the work. A construction committee is also monitoring the progress.

Work that has been carried out has included the cleaning and gutting of the terminal building and the customs’ annex building.

The next phase to be carried out includes roof work on both of these buildings, along with reconstruction and refurbishment of the interiors, including ceilings, floors, walls, mechanical and ventilation work. This work has been contracted to Garian Construction, which is one of several local companies that will work on the refurbishment of the terminal.

The interior redesign has been carried out with cooperation from Canada Border Services Agency and the ferry operator, Nova Star Cruises. Another change at the terminal will be new customs booths.

Design work and quotes are also underway for a new service entrance and gangway, pontoon and wharf repairs.

The work taking place at the ferry terminal is said to address short-term needs. Whether a new ferry terminal is on the horizon is a question to be answered at a later time. The idea is for the ferry company to operate some seasons with the refurbished facilities.

“What we’re doing now will be for two or three years,” says Yarmouth Warden Murray Goodwin, who is the chair of the industrial commission. He says once the ferry operator has a season or two under its belt, it will be better known what long-term fixes or requirements are needed – which wouldn’t have been known prior to an operator and a vessel being in place.

“We want to get it operating, and then ferry operator will know what they need,” Goodwin says. “It will evolve so we know what we need and what we don’t need. The feds have said they’ll be there for that phase of it, so hopefully they’ll keep their word.”

Meanwhile, there have been reports in the Portland media that required work to the Ocean Gateway terminal in Maine has not yet begun. A new gangway is said to be needed there. Asked if this makes him nervous, Goodwin says he’s not concerned.

“Their big issue there is they’ve got to change the gangway for the boat. I can’t see them not having that ready,” he said. “They don’t have major issues like we do. They just have to change that to make it fit the Nova Star.”


Organizations: Yarmouth Area Industrial Commission, Canada Border Services Agency, Ocean Gateway terminal

Geographic location: Yarmouth, Portland, Water Street Maine

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Recent comments

  • Mark in Maine
    January 21, 2014 - 14:50

    "Asked if this makes him nervous, Goodwin..." what? I live in Portland, and I'm hoping that the city gets busy and gets things ready for you! (Also, Kendall Morse: are you the storyteller?)

  • Kendall Morse
    January 21, 2014 - 12:00

    We are looking forward to doing this trip, then driving up Annapolis Valley during the apple blossom season, then visiting friends in Moncton, Hampshire and St. John NB. I have Wilf Carter to thank for this desire.