Yarmouth ferry to get $13M more from Nova Scotia government

HALIFAX – The Nova Scotia government will give an additional $13 million to the operator of a ferry that runs between Yarmouth and Portland, Maine.

The money for Nova Star Cruises was announced Wednesday, and he government says “increased oversight” is part of the agreement.

Nova Star will be required to publicly report its passenger numbers within 15 days of the end of each month and the government will post its funding numbers online at the start of each month.

Economic Development Minister Michel Samson said the government will seek proposals from Nova Star and other operators for 2016. He said the new money would see the current operation through 2015.

“We are confident that the $13-million subsidy is going to be more than adequate for the Nova Star to have a successful operating system,” he said.

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The Opposition Progressive Conservatives have cast doubt on the government’s plan. MLA Chris d’Entremont said the government needs to present a clear picture of how the ferry service will be sustainable.

NDP Leader Maureen MacDonald said the government needs to tell the public where it will draw the line on ferry funding at a time when the province’s finances are tight.

The ferry run was relaunched last year after a four-year hiatus.

Prior to Wednesday’s announcement, the province spent $28.5 million for the service in its inaugural season.

Of those funds, a $21-million loan that was supposed to last seven years was spent within the first two months of the sailing season.

The government says the upcoming season will run from June 1 to Oct. 14.

Timeline of Yarmouth ferry events:

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With files from Natasha Pace, Global News and The Canadian Press

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