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July 5, 2018

CAT operator eyes daily trips to Bar Harbor

Courtesy / Bay Ferries Ltd.
Courtesy / Bay Ferries Ltd.
The high-speed CAT ferry that once shuttled daily between Bar Harbor and Yarmouth, Nova Scotia, could soon be plying the route again.

The high-speed ferry that once shuttled daily between Bar Harbor and Yarmouth, Nova Scotia, could soon be plying the route again.

Maine Public reported that the CAT, operated by Bay Ferries Ltd. of Prince Edward Island, stopped calling on Bar Harbor in 2010. But the company's CEO, Mark MacDonald, told Maine Public his company wants to re-establish service to the port, and Bar Harbor Town Manager Cornell Knight said he expects to receive a proposal before a Town Council meeting on July 17.

There's no timeline for a decision about the proposal, he added.

The possible resumption of the ferry service comes as Bar Harbor voters last month overwhelmingly approved the town's $3.5 million purchase of a vacant marine terminal that once served Yarmouth ferries. A town committee had previously recommended that the former 4.5-acre Marine Atlantic terminal, on Eden Street, be converted into a multi-use public marina, which might include space for cruise ship tenders or a landing for the 349-foot CAT.

Bay Ferries is offering to pay some of the costs for the terminal's improvements, according to Knight.

"They would invest $3 million to get the property into shape in order to accomplish that for next June — I think that's their tentative target date — and they would pay us a lease for the time," he told Maine Public.

Bay Ferries began operating The CAT to Bar Harbor in 1997, but halted the service after it could no longer obtain financial subsidies for it from the provincial government. CEO MacDonald has said that resumed service would not be dependent on that assistance.

Bay Ferries currently operates The CAT between Yarmouth, Nova Scotia, and Portland, under a 10-year contract that began in 2016. MacDonald recently told the Mount Desert Islander that the Portland route would probably be discontinued if the Bar Harbor service is resumed.

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