June 13, 2018 12:10 pm

Bar Harbor residents vote to buy vacant ferry terminal to possibly bring back CAT ferry

The CAT, a high-speed passenger ferry, departs Yarmouth, N.S., heading to Portland, Maine, on its first scheduled trip on Wednesday, June 15, 2016.

Andrew Vaughan/ The Canadian Press

Residents in Bar Harbor, Maine, have voted to allow their town to purchase a vacant ferry terminal, and it could pave the way for The CAT ferry from Yarmouth, N.S., to change its American port of call.

Results from Tuesday’s 1,380-213 vote means the town can buy the property from the Department of Transportation for US$3.5 million.

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Last week, Bar Harbor town manager Cornell Knight told Global News that Bay Ferries, which owns the high-speed ferry, has estimated it will cost US$3 million to upgrade the terminal for its use. Knight said the company has offered to front the cash needed to make that happen.

READ: Bay Ferries exploring possible shift in service from Portland to Bar Harbor

“The town of Bar Harbor had international ferry service for many years and it would be nice to bring back that Canada connection and bring in revenue to help fund the cost of developing the site,” Knight said in an email to Global News.

“Assuming there is a positive vote next week, the town council will begin to study the next steps this summer.”

Bay Ferries CEO Mark MacDonald told Global News that Bar Harbor was a strong market for ferry passengers and Nova Scotia’s transportation department executive director of finance said there would be significant savings in operating costs if the service were to move to Bar Harbor.

WATCH: Contentious CAT ferry sets sail from Yarmouth to U.S.

The CAT ferry travelled between Yarmouth and Bar Harbor from 2006 to 2009. Currently, the ferry travels between Yarmouth and Portland, Maine.

The lease agreement between Bay Ferries and the City of Portland is for one year. The current lease, obtained by Global News, expires on Nov. 15. Bay Ferries has an option to renew for another year, and has to notify Portland by Oct. 15.

— With a file from Alexander Quon

© 2018 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

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