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Council defers decision on Bedford fast-ferry service

It was a political hot potato they just weren’t willing to pick up.

It was a political hot potato they just weren’t willing to pick up.


The municipality’s 23 councillors wouldn’t touch a new proposal for a high-speed ferry service between Halifax and Bedford at last night’s regular council meeting — opting to defer debate on the matter until January.


The unsolicited proposal from WaterLink Transportation was submitted by local businessman Jay Hasson, who recently purchased two hovercrafts that he wants to put to use in a two-year pilot project linking Bedford to the downtown core.


Hasson said he could have the service up and running by February and asked council to approve his idea in principle — but councillors weren’t biting, and they voted overwhelmingly to move the item to their next meeting.


A municipally backed fast-ferry project has been in the works for years, but has been in dry dock since April because a business plan was not completed quickly enough.


In other council news yesterday, it looks like the municipality’s race-relations committee won’t be resurrected anytime soon.


During yesterday’s afternoon session, several councillors expressed a desire to see the committee re-formed to help deal with the over-representation of African-Nova Scotian youth in the justice system. The group was disbanded last year during a major review of the city’s boards and committees.


But Halifax Regional Police Chief Frank Beazley told council that the current system of holding regular meetings between himself, HRM public safety officer Don Spicer, Dr. Donald Clairmont and several prominent members of the black community in HRM has been working just fine.


“We’ve had a golden opportunity to engage some prominent people in the African-Nova Scotian community,” Beazley said. “To rush out and establish a committee without a proper plan, or proper support, would be wrong. There’s still a long way to go.”


Beazley said the consultations, which began last summer, are expected to continue in 2010.

 
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