Businesses concerned about future of Princess of Acadia ferry
The 40-year-old Princes of Acadia ferry joins Saint John, N.B. and Digby, N.S. (File photo)
Published Thursday, December 20, 2012 6:40PM AST
People in the fishing industry in both southern New Brunswick and Nova Scotia are beginning to worry about the future of the Princess of Acadia ferry.
Much of the seafood sold in Saint John restaurants comes from the Bay of Fundy and is transported to the city by the ferry.
However, concern over the status of the ferry is growing and people are questioning how much longer it will be able to stay afloat.
Those in the business of selling seafood worry that if the ferry shuts down, the quality of the product will be at risk.
“I mean, if they’re going to pack it on a transport truck, it could be the night before, it could sit overnight, it could leave later in the day, received the following day, but on the ferry it is direct, point A to point B,” says seafood company owner Billy Grant.
“I mean, you’re actually getting a day, a better freshness compared to what transport would do.”
Bay Ferries, who owns and operates the Princess of Acadia, says the decision to replace the ferry is one that has to be made by the federal government.
Officials with the company wouldn’t say whether they’re making a recommendation to the government, but they do say the ferry is up to sailing standards and is safe to be on the water.
Ted Weaire is a general manager at Cooke Aquaculture, which provides marine and fishing supplies across the Maritimes. He says, in peak season, the ferry is a vital part in transferring their products.
“We’re very dependent on the ferry itself,” says Weaire. “It needs to run on a consistent basis so we can meet the demand on both sides of the bay.”
The ferry doesn’t just serve businesses on either side of the bay; it also plays a significant role in New Brunswick and Nova Scotia tourism.
“I think it’s a key player for both sides, with tourism, business and economic development,” says Liberal MLA Rick Doucet. “It’s been there, it’s served the areas quite well. I think it’s important we maintain it.”
Doucet says a strategy has to be put in place, for both the short and long term, to keep the ferry afloat.
With files from CTV Atlantic's Ashley Dunbar