News release

Province Releases Draft Request for Proposals for Yarmouth Ferry

The residents and businesses of southwest Nova Scotia are one step closer to a ferry.

The province has a plan to attract a qualified ferry operator with a thorough, transparent competitive process. A draft request for proposals was issued today, Oct. 23, which will be used in discussions with potential ferry operators. Information gathered will be used for revisions to a formal request for proposals.

"People in southwestern Nova Scotia want to see a viable, successful and stable ferry between Yarmouth and the United States. So does this government," said Economic and Rural Development Minister Percy Paris. "The province is working to revitalize southwest Nova Scotia. Teaming with community and business partners to attract a new cruise ferry operation for Yarmouth is another step in the right direction."

The province asked an expert panel to review studies on ferry service between Yarmouth and the United States and meet with various interested people to find conditions needed for a viable service.

The report, released Sept. 7, said a cruise ferry service can be viable in the long term if it:

  • provides a high quality on-board experience
  • is supported with a sophisticated marketing strategy
  • leverages a strong tourist experience in southwest Nova Scotia

The operator will need to present a plan that shows:

  • a ferry service will be profitable within seven years
  • reflects the winning conditions set out by the expert panel
  • will meet the requirements for the province's support package

The province is prepared to commit as much as $21 million over seven years to attract a new long-term cruise ferry operation in Yarmouth, run by a qualified ferry operator.

"For success, many factors need to be in place and the province can't do it alone," said Mr. Paris. "We need timely assistance from the federal government and a viable plan from an experienced ferry operator.

"We also need continued support from municipalities, businesses and residents of southwest Nova Scotia, whose passion we've seen over these past three years."

The panel report estimates there will also be about $5 million in start-up costs for baseline research, advertising, vessel acquisition and financing. A federal government study indicates that up to $13 million would be needed to repair and refurbish the Yarmouth terminal facilities, owned by the federal government.

The draft request for proposals is available online at www.gov.ns.ca/tenders/general/ERDT_Ferry_Draft.pdf.

FOR BROADCAST USE:

The residents and businesses of southwest Nova Scotia are one step closer to a ferry.

The province has a plan to attract a qualified ferry operator with a thorough, transparent competitive process. A draft request for proposals was issued today (October 23rd) to be used in discussions with potential ferry operators. Information gathered will be used for revisions to a formal request for proposals.

Economic and Rural Development Minister Percy Paris says the province is working to revitalize southwest Nova Scotia and teaming with community and business partners to attract a new cruise ferry operation for Yarmouth is another step in the right direction.

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Media Contact:

Jennifer Gavin
Economic and Rural Development and Tourism 902-424-4998 E-mail: