Portland yet to upgrade port for Yarmouth ferry
Maine operators say they'll be ready for May
The Yarmouth to Portland ferry is scheduled to start running in May, but the U.S. side has not begun work on its terminal and would-be passengers can't buy tickets yet.
Nova Star Cruises, the company that will operate the route between Nova Scotia and Maine, says it is confident the service will be up and running in May.
Greg Shay of the Yarmouth Area Industrial Commission says that while the town's international ferry terminal looks like an abandoned building, crews are busy bringing it up to operating speed.
"The first phase, the gutting and the cleansing, has been completed and now we are moving on to the next phase, which is the interior renovation and construction inside," he said.
"At the same time [there] are a lot of other pieces that have to be designed and put in here and installed and working before May."
Shay says the terminal was built in the 1950s. "We're taking this terminal and we're going to refurbish it on a temporary basis to have it available for service for May 1 for the new ferry operator."
Hoping for a business boom
Yarmouth Mayor Pam Mood says the region needs its ferry service back.
"I'm thinking about how excited not just the town, but the whole region is to have visitors come back through the ferry service, to have thousands of people coming through the streets and into the shops and the restaurants. I think that's what I'm focused on most and I think everybody is ready to welcome them," she says.
Shay says the work being done around the terminal is noticed all over town.
"This has been a big boost for the whole psyche of the whole area. All the eyes are on it. They may not be here looking through the windows every day, but certainly all eyes are on the property and they are watching to see how it develops."
It will cost close to $3 million to upgrade the Yarmouth terminal. Mood says that investment will be returned many times by the expected increase in business.
The Portland facility says its terminal was built in 2008 and so needs only minor work to be ready for the Nova Scotia service. A spokesman said they will be ready on time.