Friday, September 7, 2012

NDP Ferry Service Support Is Political Hay Making: Yarmouth Liberal MLA

Photo: Zach Churchill
Zach Churchill
The Nova Scotia government has antied-up 21 million dollars to re-launch a ferry service that once linked Yarmouth and Portland, Maine. Premier Darrell Dexter made the announcement this morning, three years after his government effectively killed the service by cancelling a six-million dollar annual subsidy. The premier says the money will be provided over a seven-year period on the condition a private operator can be found to run it. Yarmouth Liberal MLA Zach Churchill says he's happy to see this issue move forward finally. He questions the timing though.

The premiers's announcement this morning came after the release of an independent report that concluded the service could be revived with 35 million dollars in public funds and a significant boost in passenger traffic.

NS Government Backs Revived Yarmouth Ferry Service

Premier Darrell Dexter speaks to reporters at One Government Place in this file photo.
Premier Darrell Dexter
 A new ferry service between Yarmouth and Maine is not a lost cause according to an independent panel report released this morning. It concludes an initial $35 million in public funds would be needed as well as a significant boost in passenger traffic to ensure the service is viable. However, the provincial government is adding its support to a new service with premier Darrell Dexter saying 21 million dollars over 7 years will be committed to the project. The province will also look for a private sector operator. Yarmouth Mayor Phil Mooney says its the best news he's heard in a long time and he's optimistic a ferry service can be up and running by next summer.

The mayor says its now up to the federal government to also make a major committment. He says the local Conservative MP Greg Kerr and Defence minister Peter McKay have already voiced their support. Mooney believes they'll hold weight in any Harper Government discussion on whether to provide financing.

Power Rates: UARB Sides With Electric Co-op

It's decision that will save members of the province's municipal electric co-op millions in unnecessary charges. Nova Scotia Power attempted to apply a $30 million dollar cost recovery charge to keep the five municipal utilities locked into their power grid. However, the Utility and Review Board rejected the request in a ruling handed down yesterday in Halifax. Members of the co-op have been working for the past seven years to secure a cheaper source of power and were caught off guard by NSP's request. The UARB decision means the co-op can proceed with its negotiations with an outside energy producer in an effort to find cheaper power for their residents. The Municipal Electric Co-op is made of independent utilities in the town's of Mahone Bay, Lunenburg, Riverport, Berwick and Antigonish.

Slight Increase In Gasoline Prices

The province's utility and review board has set gasoline prices for the coming week. Only a slight change in some South Shore prices this morning. Regular self serve is up a bit to $1.39 per litre. Thats just under half a cent more than yesterday. High-test is selling for $1.48. Diesel is unchanged at $1.37.1.