August 19, 2019
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Ferry service between Bar Harbor and Nova Scotia will be delayed

Troy R. Bennett | BDN
Troy R. Bennett | BDN
The high-speed ferry known as The Cat sits at the Ocean Gateway Terminal in Portland in this 2016 file photo. Bay Ferries, which operates the ferry, says delays in renovating the terminal in Bar Harbor have resulted in resumption of service to Canada being postponed until ‘mid-summer.’

Bay Ferries, which had said it hoped to start offering ferry service between Bar Harbor and Nova Scotia by June 21, now says operations should start next month as its renovation of Bar Harbor’s ferry terminal proceeds more slowly than expected.

The company said it has canceled reservations for trips before July 7 and re-routed some passengers.

For customers who plan to travel prior to July 7, Bay Ferries said it will “accommodate as many passengers as possible” on the ferry MV Fundy Rose, which operates between Saint John, New Brunswick, and Digby, Nova Scotia.

Bay Ferries, based in Halifax, Nova Scotia, said multiple factors have delayed the anticipated start date in Bar Harbor, the most significant of which is “the complexity of the construction and approvals process associated with the renovation of the Bar Harbor ferry terminal.”

This past winter, the projected cost for upgrades to the idle facility ballooned from $3.75 million to $6.4 million in U.S. currency. The terminal has not been in use since Bay Ferries abruptly canceled ferry service between Bar Harbor and Yarmouth, Nova Scotia, in 2009.

The company added that “the uniqueness of the project, the need to complete it in an accelerated time frame, the U.S. government shutdown [last winter] and delays in the terminal land transfer process” are among other factors in the resumption of service being postponed.

Renovations of the existing customs building, as mandated by U.S. Customs and Border Protection, and exterior improvements to the lot on Route 3 are taking longer than anticipated, company officials said.

The company said it “will communicate directly with all affected customers and deeply regrets any inconvenience caused to our customers and impacts on our partners and the hospitality industry.”

Bay Ferries operated The Cat ferry between Portland and Nova Scotia from 2016 to 2018. It had no choice but to relocate back to Bar Harbor, company officials said, because “a commitment was required to construct entirely new border facilities [in Portland].”



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