Nova Scotia optimistic for successful ferry return
YARMOUTH, NS (WGME) -- Ten years ago, the Scotia Prince made its final voyage from Portland to Nova Scotia. The Cat, a high speed ferry service made its last run five years ago.
In a few months, a brand new ferry will resume service between Portland and Yarmouth, Nova Scotia.
"Really, the driver though is Nova Scotia and Yarmouth. They're the ones that really drive this. They're the ones putting the bulk of the money, the operating money into it," said Maine D.O.T Commissioner David Bernhardt.
Zach Churchill, Nova Scotia's Minister of Natural Resources, says businesses lost at least $25 million in profits, when the provincial government cut the subsidies needed to run the last ferry.
"We've committed $21 million dollars to the project from the province of Nova Scotia," said Churchill.
The impact was felt as far away as Cape Breton in the northern part of the province.
"We even heard from businesses up there that they lost between 20 and 30 percent of their room bookings, directly attributed to the loss of the ferry," Churchill added.
Then there's Acadian Maple Products, a gift shop that buses in 35,000 tourists each year from the cruise ships.
"We definitely noticed the huge impact when the ferry was taken off in the Yarmouth area. A lot of stores have closed down," said business owner William Allaway.
Prices start at $79 for a one way trip, and will be higher in the peak summer season. The new 1,200 passenger ferry includes a casino, three restaurants, a salon, spa, and a theater for live entertainment. However, some in Nova Scotia worry about their taxes going up to cover the province's portion of the costs.
"It's going to be great for the tourists. It's going to be great for the community of Yarmouth. But we're also concerned about how much in the end it's going to cost in taxes for the province to run it," Said Rosemary Talbot of Halifax
The provincial government hopes the additional tourists will offset those costs. But it will be several months before they'll find out.