Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Ferry subsidies extended

1. The 39 year old Holiday Island is curently in refit at Halifax Shipyard. November 28, 2010 photo. (She is a double ender, so the half that's not in the photo is the same as the half that is.)

A short life line has been thrown to three Atlantic Canada ferry services with a three year, $51 mn announcement from Ottawa.

The Atlantic Canada premiers wanted a much longer 15 year deal, which would allow planning for new ships, but this stopgap at least allows some breathing room, and perhaps earnest planning for new ships will start.

The three services that have been funded are:
- Digby, NS to Saint John, NB (needs new ferry)
- Caribou, NS to Wood Island, PEI (needs one new ferry)
- Souris, PEI to Cap-aux-Meules, Magdalen Islands.

The Minister of Transport owns both Princess of Acadia and Holiday Island which must be replaced with new ships. These should be purpose built and need to be in place, or at least ordered by the time the current subsidy arrangement ends.

The subsidy for the Magdalen Islands operation also extends the service to year round (it used to stop in February and March due to ice) The ferry operator, CTMA owns the ship in question there, but that company should be looking for newer tonnage fairly soon too.

See the full press release here:

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