News Release Archive


The Nova Scotia government is "exasperated" that plans for
privatizing ferry service between Yarmouth and Bar Harbour, Maine
don't include a guarantee of winter service, Premier John Savage
said today. 

The premier said the province has repeatedly called upon the
federal government to maintain winter service.
The federal government announced today (Thursday, Nov. 7) that
Northumberland Ferries, of Charlottetown, was the successful
bidder for Marine Atlantic's Yarmouth-Bar Harbour and Digby-Saint
John ferry routes.
Premier Savage said, "By not insisting that Northumberland commit
to providing year-round service between Yarmouth and Bar Harbour,
Ottawa has dealt another cruel blow to the economy of
southwestern Nova Scotia."

Premier Savage said annual winter service to Maine and New
England is essential, at the very least until the end of January.
The ferry service is a vital transportation link for Christmas
tree growers, lobster fishermen and forest product exporters.

The premier said he was disappointed with the deal given the fact
Ottawa indicated it would stress the importance of year-round
service when it initiated the privatization process. 

"The federal government acknowledged the importance of this 
export link when it agreed to extend ferry service the past two
winters. The situation hasn't changed. The service will be just
as vital to the community in 1997 and beyond as it is this year."

Nova Scotia paid out more than $300,000 to extend this year's
ferry season so that service would not be interrupted while
Ottawa examined bids from private operators. The provincial
government wanted Ottawa to use the extra time to push for
year-round service in its negotiations with the private sector. 
"It appears that Ottawa does not appreciate the tremendous impact
a reduced ferry schedule will have on the region."

Premier Savage said a study done for southwestern Nova Scotia
development authorities pegged the cost of losing winter service
at more than $2 million.

"The area is already suffering from cuts to various federal
programs such as support for small harbours. Money is also being
taken out of the economy as the result of dramatically increased
fees, including fishing licenses. Cutting vital export links will
only add to the area's problems."

The premier said he has communicated Nova Scotia's disappointment 
to federal Transport Minister David Anderson. Premier Savage said
there is still time for Ottawa to negotiate with the private
ferry operator for an extended winter season. 


Contact: David Harrigan  902-424-6600

jlw                       Nov.07, 1996         5:20 p.m.