Delay on ferry deal putting local economy at risk
ARGYLE, NS – Progressive Conservative MLA for Argyle, Chris d’Entremont says the Yarmouth ferry delay isn’t just hurting tourism, it’s wreaking havoc on the trucking industry too.
d’Entremont is calling on the Liberals to tell Nova Scotians exactly what type of boat is being considered for the Yarmouth to Maine run and if it will be able to accommodate tractor trailers and trucks.
“It’s a simple question, but it has huge consequences,” says d’Entremont. “The Liberals are completely silent, but the trucking industry needs to know today.”
Brian Reynolds, owner of B. Reynolds Trucking in Port Latour, says the trucking industry can’t wait.
“We want some idea of where we stand this summer,” he says. “It’s time we find out the truth of the situation.”
Mr. Reynolds says the southwest trucking industry risks being at a standstill if the government doesn’t ensure that trucks will be welcome on the international run.
“We are at serious risk of being choked off and we cannot afford for that to happen,” says Mr. Reynolds. “We need to make sure we don’t get the short end of the stick.”
d’Entremont says the Yarmouth ferry has never been solely about tourism. The trucking concerns highlight the need for a real plan to boost the economy in the region.
“The commercial trucking industry is very important to the economy of southwest Nova Scotia,” he says. “For example, imagine a fishing industry without a means to get their product to the US market in a timely manner. Finding out at the last minute could be a catastrophe. This is worrisome.”
With declining passenger numbers, Mr. Reynolds says the ferry needs trucks as much as the trucks need a ferry.
“They will starve to death without trucks,” he adds.
The 45-day time limit to secure a new Yarmouth ferry has long since elapsed. Bay Ferries and the Liberals are staying mum on the matter, but d’Entremont says it’s time to talk.
“If the minister knows than he must tell taxpayers, and if he doesn’t know, we should be very concerned,” he adds. “Either way, the industry needs to make plans.”