© TINA COMEAU - THE VANGUARD
All is quiet at the Yarmouth ferry terminal as the province rejected both bids to restart the project.
The province is closer to bringing a ferry service for the families and businesses of southwest Nova Scotia.
Economic and Rural Development and Tourism Minister Graham Steele announced today, Aug. 13, the province will enter into negotiations with STM Quest Inc., a proposed joint venture between ST Marine Ltd. and Quest Navigation, to set up and run a ferry between Yarmouth and Portland, Maine.
"We've said all along that the province would support a ferry with the right business model and the right partners," said Mr. Steele. "We are very close to having a ferry service that will stand on its own, a service that can be successful and profitable, that families of Southwest Nova Scotia can count on well into the future."
Three companies submitted business plans to operate the ferry service from Yarmouth to Maine, beginning next year. The flexible process allowed the evaluation team to communicate with the companies, requesting more information, asking questions about the plans they submitted and meeting with each of them.
After the thorough process, the team chose to begin negotiations with STM Quest Inc.
"We would like to thank the government of the province of Nova Scotia for their confidence in selecting us to help restore this vital service," said Steve Durrell, COO of Quest Navigation. "We would also like to assure all Nova Scotians that we will devote our efforts to delivering the best value and a world-class cruise ferry service that will benefit all the people of Nova Scotia and serve as a symbol that makes everyone proud."
A team of representatives from the Nova Scotia International Ferry Partnership and the province evaluated the plans based on financial stability, a management structure with expertise and a history of managing successful ferry services, and tourism and marketing experience.
"It's encouraging to see this process continue to move ahead on such an important transportation link," said Keith Condon, co-chair of the Nova Scotia International Ferry Partnership. "Knowing the province is entering negotiations on a proposal that would see a ferry in Yarmouth in 2014 is good news for the community and we are looking forward to a final announcement."
A fact sheet on the negotiations, is available at http://novascotia.ca/econ/ in the Initiatives section.