Month: November 2011

2011 Lobstering Season Begins

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Lower East Pubnico Wharf, Chris d’Entremont Photo

A special good luck goes out to all by friends and constituents who headed out this grey morning of the District 33 and 34 lobstering season. These men (and sometimes women) impress me so much, because it seems as all the rest of the fishing vessels in the area are tying up for the winter these folks head out sea.

I wish them all a good season. Over the next couple of days I guess we will get to see the opening price, which everyone guesses will be low. For the sake of the livelyhood of thousands of people in southwest Nova Scotia, I hope it is reasonable. Kathy Johnson of the Vanguard explains the issue with this year’s price in this article. Tina Comeau of the Vanguard also wore this article about border issues that might compound the problems.

With all these uncertainties all I can do is be optimistic and make sure that governments are doing what they can do to ensure proper pricing and market access.

Good luck, and please support local product, eat lots of lobster!

Yarmouth County Athletic Awards

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Here are some pictures from the 34th Yarmouth County Athletic Awards on November 18, 2011

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Question on Yarmouth Ferry – Gardner Pinfold Report

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Question I asked the NDP Government on the newly released Gardner Pinfold Report on the viability of a ferry service from Yarmouth to New England. Copied from Hansard November 16, 2011.

HON. CHRISTOPHER D’ENTREMONT: Mr. Speaker, yesterday an economic analysis study suggested that a business case can be made for a Nova Scotia to New England international ferry service. The study completed by Gardner Pinfold Consulting supports the contention that a seasonal international ferry operation between Nova Scotia and the United States could be financially viable and contribute billions of dollars to the provincial economy. On November 16, 2010 the Premier (Interruptions) I’ve been hearing lots of noise from the government here. They don’t even want to hear about a report from Gardner Pinfold. I’ll happily continue on here and maybe they’ll listen. On November 16, 2010, the Premier told the CBC, what we said to the municipal officials here is that we are perfectly willing to work with officials in Yarmouth to look for a service that will suit the region and one that is sustainable over the long term. The business community has satisfied the Premier’s 2010 condition. Mr. Speaker, will the Premier fulfill his 2010 promise and support the community on the ferry project and provide some hope to our area?

THE PREMIER: Mr. Speaker, I think the honourable member ought to actually take the study and read it. In fact what it says is that if the Canadian dollar should decline, if the U.S. economy should increase, if they are able to generate four times as many passengers on a new ferry as they did on the old one, then it will become a sustainable business. What I have said is that we are prepared to participate in any service that shows itself to be a viable, continuing service for the area and we stand by that.

MR. D’ENTREMONT: Mr. Speaker, in this House on May 11th the Minister of Economic and Rural Development and Tourism said, “What we are also willing to do, and I’ve said this time and time again, if somebody comes forward to us with a plan with respect to – whether it be ferry service or anything else, we are willing to look at it and it will be measured on its own merit.” According to the Gardner Pinfold study, an effective marketing campaign combined with a creative tour package, could see a recovery of U.S. traffic exceeding 100,000 passengers in the first year of renewed Yarmouth-Portland cruise ferry service. The minister has seen this study. We know this because he is quoted in the press release issued by the Nova Scotia International Ferry Partnership. He has seen the evidence and he knows that an international ferry has merit. My question to the minister is, will he commit today to making the ferry project a priority for his department? Will he act quickly so that southwest Nova Scotia doesn’t lose another tourist season and sink further into despair?

HON. PERCY PARIS: Mr. Speaker, what this government and what I will commit to, that if a viable, sustainable transportation system for the southwest region comes forward, this government has said we would look at it. It will stand on the business case that is presented with it and with its own merit. That’s what I offered, it’s a fair offer.

MR. D’ENTREMONT: Mr. Speaker, the traffic forecast contained in the Gardner Pinfold study projects the ferry service could expect to break even, or even generate a modest positive net return and an annual revenue stream in the $24 million to $26 million range. Add this figure to the expected economic impact associated with the ferry service, $16 million in annual gross tourism spending throughout the province, $3.5 million – that’s about 21 per cent – would be spent annually in the Yarmouth-Acadian Shore-South Shore impact regions, the creation of 260 jobs, the creation of $8 million of labour income in the province and $1.7 million in southwest Nova Scotia. These figures represent a lifeline to a drowning region, Mr. Speaker. I’m just asking that this government doesn’t blow this opportunity. They said a business case can be made for the Cape Breton railroad and they supported that project. My question to the Minister of Economic Development and Tourism is, now that the minister has proof that the wanted ferry service is viable, will he act in his best interest for the people of Nova Scotia and southwest Nova Scotia, just as he did for Cape

MR. PARIS: Mr. Speaker, if someone comes forward with a business case, what the member is quoting is – he is quoting from a report. I think, and I said yesterday, that report is based on certain assumptions, which I may add, assumptions and conclusions that are very, very generous. Mr. Speaker, if somebody wishes to come forward with a solid business case, as I said, we will look at it. It will be measured and evaluated on the merits of the business case that it presents to us.

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New Completion Date for Tusket River Bridge

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FYI, Transportation and Infrastructure Renewal released this on Monday in regards to the completion of the Tusket bridge. This is disappointing as up to now the date was a December 15 completion.

Here is the release:

Transportation and Infrastructure Renewal
October 31, 2011 3:05 PM
Construction of the new Tusket River Bridge on Highway 3, Yarmouth County, will be complete by late May 2012.

Department of Transportation and Infrastructure Renewal officials had planned for it to be finished this December. However, delays in design, regulatory permits, tendering, and getting specialized material and equipment needed meant the completion date had to be extended.

All in-water work will still be completed this year but the May 31 date allows for spring paving.

“We recognize how important the new bridge is to the community and appreciate their patience,” said Bill Estabrooks, Minister of Transportation and Infrastructure Renewal. “We’ll continue to work with the contractor to ensure every effort is made to have the new bridge finished as soon as possible.”

Work on the new bridge has begun.

Dexter Construction was awarded the contract, valued at $3.7 million. The new Tusket River Bridge is part of the Department of Transportation and Infrastructure Renewal’s 5-Year Highway Improvement Plan.

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