There could still be a Yarmouth-to-Maine ferry but it likely won’t be the Cat, Premier Darrell Dexter said yesterday.
In an interview with Metro Halifax, the premier said despite what may come, the Bay Ferries operation had become unworkable.
“Last year it was $12 million (in subsidies to keep the ferry operational). The province just cannot sustain that,” he said.
“The job of government is not to continue to subsidize services that are not meeting the needs of the province or the region.”
Bay Ferries said last week it will shut down the seasonal ferry after being denied $6 million in government subsidies. The area will lose 120 jobs.
A joint federal-provincial report on transportation in the area is underway. Dexter said it may recommend a new ferry service, but his best bet is it won’t be the Cat.
Dexter said one key problem with Bay Ferries’ operation is that it was purely for passenger traffic and had no commercial capacity. He said whatever ferry service exists should fill the exporting needs of Southwest Nova.
“I think that moving this decision back to the communities is the important thing to do,” Dexter said. “To say you have to find a ferry service operator that is sustainable, that will provide you with the export capacity that you need and will provide you with a passenger service.”
Yarmouth Mayor Phil Mooney will be part of a delegation to Halifax tomorrow to lobby Dexter to save the existing ferry service.
Mooney said he’s received calls from tourism operators from Nova Scotia and the state of Maine who say they will suffer if ferry service isn’t restored.
The town of Yarmouth has opened an office and assigned a town employee as part of its own ferry-rescue plan.