Passenger ferry to Halifax’s Georges Island on deck for this summer

File - Georges Island in Halifax Harbour. Alexander Quon/Global News

Halifax residents and tourists will be able to visit a forbidden island in Halifax Harbour this summer — if life returns to normal.

Georges Island, a National Historic Site that has long been off-limits to the public, is set to receive a daily passenger ferry service, according to a tender document issued by Develop Nova Scotia.

The service would run between the Halifax waterfront and Georges Island between July 3 and Sept. 3., with the potential for service to be extended as late as Nov. 15.

READ MORE: Halifax Harbour historic site gets $2 million for wharf to improve access

The ferry would begin sailings at 10 a.m., leaving the Halifax waterfront at least once an hour before leaving Georges Island for a final time at 5 p.m.

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It’s the culmination of a $3.67-million infrastructure announcement made last year, which aimed to open the island to the public.

Keen observers may have been able to spot the construction of a 150 by 20-foot timber pile wharf being constructed on the north side of the island.

Click to play video: 'Major infrastructure announced to open Georges Island for all to explore' Major infrastructure announced to open Georges Island for all to explore
Major infrastructure announced to open Georges Island for all to explore – Aug 9, 2019

That wharf is now up and running, waiting to welcome the island’s first tourists.

But despite the promise of the public visits to the National Historic site, the tender does acknowledge that COVID-19 could scuttle the launch of the service this season.

“Commencement of this service will be predicated on public health and safety concerns related to COVID-19 as assessed and directed by the Province of Nova Scotia, Develop Nova Scotia, and or Parks Canada and in consultation with the successful proponent(s),” the tender reads.

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READ MORE: No cleanup for Georges Island a year after Parks Canada spent $67K to spruce up attraction

The proponent who earns the tender will be allowed to determine what vessel they will use, but the tender does stipulate that the service will need to be able to move at least 100 people (but no more than 150 people) per hour.

The service operator will not be allowed to cancel trips due to low ticket sales and must “operate even if just transporting one passenger.”

Submissions for the tender are due April 28, 2020.

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