Nova Scotia

Tancook Island ferry to receive repairs after shutdown

The Tancook Island ferry will receive some upgrades next month Transport Canada regulations shut it down for three days earlier this week.

New Transport Canada regulations forced shutdown this week

Nova Scotia's transportation minister says repairs to bring the Tancook Island ferry in line with new Federal regulations should be completed by the end of November.

The ferry was shutdown early Monday and didn't resume service until late Wednesday. It was prohibited from making the run between Chester and Tancook Island in high winds because the ferry fails to meet Transport Canada regulations.

Residents of the island rely heavily on the provincial ferry to get to work and to get their kids to and from school.

The shutdown left everyone on the island cut off from the mainland. The flu clinic had to be cancelled and several kids who go to school in Chester couldn't get home.

New Transport Canada regulations came into effect in August and now the ferry has to tie up any time the winds exceed 30 knots.

David Baker, whose two children were stranded on the mainland for two nights, says the province should have done the safety upgrades months ago.

"They know winter is coming," said Baker. "I mean those kind of days are average wind days in this area. If you're going to tie up on those days you're going to be tied up half the week."

On Thursday, the province's transportation minister, Maurice Smith, said he didn't know there were any safety issues with the vessel until it was inspected in late August. He said the delays are due to a shortage of parts.

"Some parts had to be ordered and because of the age of the ferry these parts, some of them had to be hand made so there is a little bit of a delay in them coming," said Smith.

Smith said the repairs will cost about $30,000 and they hope to have all the work needed to satisfy the safety regulations completed by the end of the month so the ferry won't have to tie up in windy weather.