Nova Scotia

Documents filed by Bay Ferries detail pricey makeover for Bar Harbor terminal

Documents filed with the Town of Bar Harbor, Maine, on behalf of Bay Ferries details the extensive, and expensive, work the company needs to do in order to use the facility this summer.

Rebuilding loading ramp, refurbishing existing buildings to cost upwards of $5M

It could cost up to $5 million to upgrade the Bar Harbor ferry terminal, according to documents filed in Maine. (Google)

Bringing Bar Harbor's ferry terminal back to life after nearly a decade is going to be a big and expensive job, perhaps costing up to $5 million, according to documents filed last month with the town's planning board.

The 89-page site application by engineering firm CES Inc., of Brewer, Maine, includes a description of that work, site plans, legal agreements and a letter from Nova Scotia Department of Transportation and Infrastructure Renewal promising that Nova Scotia taxpayers will pay the cost.

The work is described in the application form as: "Renovation of the existing Bar Harbor ferry terminal to meet 2018 U.S. Customs and Border Patrol standards. Install new docking and loading ramps within the existing marine structure."

Extensive to-do list

A list of the site work is a 16 item to-do list which includes the demolition of two buildings, retaining walls and a bus canopy, as well as the removal of the existing fence, metal posts and the parking lot adjacent to the Maine Ferry Terminal Building, which will also be renovated.

That's in addition to the work outlined in a lease with Bar Harbor agreed to last fall, which includes monitors used to screen vehicles for radioactive substances, equipment to read licence plates, the installation of ticket booths, security cameras and a ramp system for loading and unloading the ship.

A Maine-based engineering firm estimates the cost of fixing up the ferry terminal in Bar Harbor will be up to $3.75 million US. (Google)

CES estimated the cost at up to $3.75 million US.

In a letter dated Jan. 23, Bay Ferries notes: "The Province of Nova Scotia is the project's funding partner and will ultimately bear responsibility for the costs of readying the Bar Harbor facility for ferry service."

A supporting document from Diane Saurette, a Transportation and Infrastructure Renewal executive, offers further reassurance.

"The Province of Nova Scotia is responsible for funding the costs associated with ferry-service related projects undertaken with joint agreement between the Province and Bay Ferries Limited, including the costs of upgrading the Bar Harbour ferry terminal property which [is] the subject of this application," she wrote in a letter dated Jan. 22.

Ferry operations to begin in May

Other than the construction and renovation work, the plan provides some idea of how Bay Ferries plans to run the operation. 

"Ferry terminal operations will begin the weekend of Memorial Day (May 27) and will run to Columbus Day weekend (Oct. 14), or slightly later."

"The ferry will arrive at the Bar Harbor terminal at noon and depart at 3 p.m., daily."

The Bar Harbor Planning Board deemed the application "incomplete" and has asked for an additional 16 items, including more information about lighting, and letters or approval forms from 10 government agencies. The plan is expected to be back before the committee Feb. 27.