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Shutdown affects Bay Ferries ferry plan in Bar Harbor

BY Laurie Schreiber

1/11/2019
Courtesy / Bay Ferries Ltd.
Courtesy / Bay Ferries Ltd.
Efforts by Bay Ferries Ltd. to resume high-speed CAT ferry service between Bar Harbor and Yarmouth, Nova Scotia, are being hampered by the federal government shutdown, Bay Ferries CEO told Mainebiz in an email.

The federal government shutdown is hampering Bay Ferries Ltd.’s processing of plans to re-establish ferry service between Bar Harbor and Nova Scotia.
But Bay Ferries CEO Mark MacDonald declined to specify the type and degree of impact the company is experiencing.
“We have been working through various issues, none unusual for this type of project,” he told Mainebiz by email. “The shutdown has made our dealings with government agencies more difficult, but we understand the circumstances and everyone is doing their best to collectively move things forward as much as we can, despite the shutdown.”
The company expects to start exterior demolition for non-building site work shortly, and has clearance to do so before the town acquires the property, MacDonald wrote.
“We anticipate three large work packages which will proceed mostly in parallel,” he wrote. “Our objective is to be in business for June 14, 2019.”
MacDonald declined to comment on the project’s cost, because contractor pricing has not been obtained yet on all phases, he wrote.
In the meantime, Bar Harbor Town Manager Cornell Knight told Mainebiz by email that he heard from the Maine Department of Transportation on Jan. 7 that the agency is working on a closing date for the end of January.
“I expect to hear soon on a specific closing date,” Knight wrote. The town has a signed right-of-entry from MDOT in the event Bay Ferries wants to start work before the town owns the property, he added.
In December, the Mount Desert Islander reported that facility and staffing requirements for U.S. Customs and Border Protection might jeopardize Bay Ferries’ plan to resume the ferry service next year.
Asked about the report, MacDonald told Mainebiz that his company has been asked by customs and border protection officials to keep the details of discussions on the issue confidential.
“It is not unusual in our business to have to work through difficult financial issues with government authorities and regulators,” he continued. “But, ultimately, we have to work together cooperatively and efficiently and do good business, as our company has done with USCBP for many years.”