Liberals continue to bumble ferry file

July 11, 2019 at 11:29 am

International event loses attendees because of ferry unknowns

Kings North MLA John Lohr says it’s time for some straight talk from the Liberals about whether or not the Nova Scotia to Maine ferry service will operate this year.

“Whether the ferry sails or not, people are bracing for the inevitable impact of these ferry delays,” says Lohr. “It’s frustrating that instead of being honest with Nova Scotians about if and when the ferry will run, the Liberals have chosen to allow the ferry operator to take reservations and give tourists and travellers false hope.”

The Canadian Atlantic District of the Gold Wing Road Riders Association, an international motorcycle group, have been planning their Sou’wester Rally for Yarmouth since 2017. Canadian Atlantic District Director Ron Martin says the event itself was sold to the more than 70 Americans set to attend on the basis that there would be a ferry, even including the service in their promotional brochure.

“It is no exaggeration to say that this event was sold on the existence of a ferry service in Yarmouth,” says Martin. “We have many older members who will not make the additional drive through New Brunswick and Nova Scotia.”

Yesterday, Deputy Minister for Transportation Paul Lafleche said that he would consider the season “productive” even if the ferry only sailed once or twice. Lohr says the government should be embarrassed with this benchmark.

“The summer is almost half over, Bay Ferries still has their sailing date listed as July 18 and the government is now saying they may only sail one or two days,” Lohr said. “To be fair to tourists and tourism operators, the Liberals have to come clean about when the ferry will start – or if it’s going to start. That is quite literally, the least they can do at this point.”

Martin says the event will proceed even though he has already begun to receive cancellations.

“We’ve been promoting this for over a year and have been telling our American counterparts that they could take the ferry from Maine. So far, we have received eight cancellations,” says Martin. “The event will go ahead either way but it’s discouraging to plan an event for two years only to find out that not only is there no clear idea if the ferry will sail soon, but there isn’t even a finished terminal on the other side.”