Campaign launched to restart Yarmouth ferry
A group of private businesses in southwestern Nova Scotia have launched a new campaign to convince the provincial government to restart a ferry service to the United States.
The Nova Scotia International Ferry Partnership, which started up last May, is launching a new website and gathering data to show the economic impact of the CAT high-speed ferry closure two years ago.
Keith Condon, a co-chair with the International Ferry Partnership, said the loss of the ferry has had an impact beyond the Yarmouth area.
"This loss is to the province so we want to give that some credibility. We want to show that reinstating this service would, in fact, be a tourism and — in some cases — an economic development benefit to the province," said Condon.
"We want to show that so they can make a good business case for it."
The CAT ferry used to run between between Yarmouth and Bar Harbor and Portland, Maine.
In 2009, the provincial government cancelled a subsidy that had kept the Bay Ferries Ltd. ferries running, effectively ending a service that had lasted more than a decade.
The International Ferry Partnership is calling on business owners and industry representatives across the province to share stories of how they have been affected by the loss of the service.
"We're starting now and we're going to try and get this in the box as fast as possible because there are people out there hurting and we want to bring that to the forefront," said Condon.
"Quite frankly, dealing with a lot of small businesses that fail has got to be more costly than solving this problem."
Condon said he's confident the federal government will contribute financially to restarting the ferry once the Nova Scotia government makes a similar commitment.
He's hoping to see a ferry operational in time for next year's tourist season.