Kings council supports initiative to save CAT ferry - quietly

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BY KIRK STARRATT

Kings County Advertiser

Kings County councillors are behind their colleagues in the Region of Queens when it comes to trying to save the CAT ferry service from Yarmouth to Maine.

However, Kings councillors found the wording of a resolution from Queens to the province too strong and are drafting their own letter.

Kings councillors reviewed correspondence from Destination Southwest Nova Association concerning the resolution by Queens at the January session. The letter from said the cancellation of the CAT ferry would impact tourism in the region, and DSWNA is encouraging other municipal units to make a similar resolution to the province.

Kings Deputy Warden Diana Brothers wasn’t in favour of the words from Queens going forward in the name of Kings County. She said Premier Darrell Dexter is committed to reviewing the impact of CAT service cancellation. Brothers said she supports, in theory, what Queens is trying to accomplish, but suggested researching the matter and discussing the issue with local MLAs.

Councillor Dick Killam said a private company can’t make a go of it, and the federal government should be involved in a big way with ferry service from Yarmouth to Maine. “It should be an extension of the federal transportation system,” he said, as service exists from Cape Breton to Newfoundland.

Councillor Chris Parker said this situation is not that unlike when it looked as though ferry service from Digby to Saint John would be cancelled and Kings asked the provincial and federal governments for help. He said some 80,000 people come through Yarmouth every year and, for every day you keep a tourist in the region, there is an economic spin-off. “Very few people will fly to Halifax and drive to Yarmouth,” he said; it’s more likely tourists would drive from Yarmouth to Halifax and, perhaps, visit Kings.

Councillor Basil Hall would hate to be a councillor in Yarmouth if they were to lose the ferry service and Kings County council wouldn’t support them. He said it would be detrimental if the ferry was cancelled, something that’s been in place for years.

Warden Fred Whalen said Dexter is waiting for a report from the Atlantic Canada Opportunities Agency and there are experts studying the impact of the ferry.

Council voted to draft its own letter to the province in support of continued ferry service.

The Queens resolution…

The resolution from Queens Regional council to the province on the termination of CAT Ferry services commencing 2010 states: “Whereas the Government of Nova Scotia unilaterally, and in the absence of consultation with the tourism industry, has determined effectively to terminate the essential seasonal ferry service between Yarmouth and Maine in the spring of 2010; and whereas the Government of Nova Scotia has taken this dramatic and ill-conceived decision in total disregard of the impact of slamming shut the Yarmouth Gateway, an important transportation infrastructure, on all southwestern Nova Scotia; and whereas the Government of Nova Scotia seems to be oblivious to the devastation this decision will have on the economic wellbeing in southwestern Nova Scotia; therefore be it resolved that the Council of the Region of Queens Municipality make strong representation to the Government of Nova Scotia indicating the devastating effect of the loss of the Yarmouth/ Bar Harbour/ Portland CAT Ferry service to the economic well being of South West Nova Scotia; and that the Council of the Region of Queens Municipality participate in any regional opposition in conjunction with other municipal units, tourism organizations, chambers of commerce and boards of trade; and that the Member of the Legislature for Queens encourage the Government of Nova Scotia to restore the Yarmouth to Maine service for the 2010 season and beyond.”

Organizations: Kings County council, Government of Nova Scotia, Destination Southwest Nova Association Council of the Region of Queens Municipality Atlantic Canada Opportunities Agency Queens Regional council

Geographic location: Yarmouth, Queens, Maine Kings Halifax Cape Breton Newfoundland Digby Saint John Southwestern Nova Scotia

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