BEAR RIVER – The West Nova MP says everything is still on track for the new Digby Saint John ferry to enter into service this spring.
© Jonathan Riley
West Nova MP Greg Kerr says the new Digby ferry will be here this spring. “But spring goes until June 21,” he says.
“What we are on record as saying is, unless they find something unexpected, then the ferry will be ready this spring, but spring goes until June 21,” said Greg Kerr on April 7 in Bear River for a funding announcement.
No truth to the rumours
Many people including local politicians were worried recently by blog posts, starting two days after April 1, which said the ship formerly known as the Blue Star Ithaki was returning to Greece because the deal with the Canadian government had fallen through.
“We own it, the taxpayers own it, it’s ours,” said Kerr. “These rumours come up, I’ve had some calls but there’s nothing to it.”
Kerr says once Bay Ferries takes control of the vessel, more information will be forthcoming.
He says plans are in the works for an open house, or open ship, in both Saint John and Digby.
He says the ship will probably be here before the open house, during sea trials, for a final check on ramp alignment.
“Bay Ferries loves the ship,” he said. “It came through some rough weather coming over and performed admirably. It will provide a more efficient service.”
Kerr has had a tour of the ship and says people will love the escalators.
“If you were ever on the Princess of Acadia and had to walk up those stairs you will love this new ship,” he said. “Plus you are on a separate deck from the trucks so that is really nice.”
The Canadian government purchased the 14-year-old ferry from Blue Star last fall for $44.6 million to replace the 41 year-old Princess of Acadia.
The new ship, temporarily named Canada2014, is currently undergoing refit and renovations in Halifax.
The Transport minister, Lisa Raitt has yet to announce the new name for the vessel.
“The top name suggestions that meet the eligibility criteria and are available from the Canadian Register of Vessels will be presented to the Minister of Transport for the final selection of a name,” said a spokesperson from Transport Canada in early March. “The chosen name will be announced to the public prior to the introduction of the vessel into service.”