BAR HARBOR — The province of Nova Scotia is considering extending the ferry service season this year once international ferry service starts up between Bar Harbor and Yarmouth, Nova Scotia, according to news reports.

The ferry season was originally planned to run from June 21 to Oct. 15. With work still being done on the terminal in Bar Harbor, the start date has been postponed indefinitely, but provincial officials are still hopeful that the ferry will run this season, according to Peter McLaughlin, a spokesman for the Nova Scotia Department of Transportation and Infrastructure Renewal.

“Bay Ferries is working with the province to have the ferry service in operation as soon as possible,” McLaughlin said. “We continue to work closely with our project consultants, contractors and U.S. Customs and Border Protection.”

“Work is ongoing at the Bar Harbor terminal,” McLaughlin said. “Marine facility work is complete, and we are focused on the land side.”

Adding extra weeks to the regular season is one of the tactics that Lloyd Hines, the province’s minister of transportation and infrastructure renewal, is considering “to save the sailing season” after multiple delays, the Global News reported.

Hines told Canadian reporters last month that the province was negotiating square footage requirements for the Bar Harbor ferry terminal with U.S. Customs and Border Protection.

“(CBP) has taken the position that they want 100 percent compliance in the facility before they permit any activity in the facility,” Hines said, according to the Global News.

The Star, a Halifax newspaper, reported last month that Hines went to Washington, D.C., to meet with CBP and “to push for expedited approval of the ferry terminal in Bar Harbor.”

Also present at the meetings in Washington were former U.S. Ambassador to Canada David Wilkins, who has been hired by the province to work with CBP, Maine Sens. Susan Collins and Angus King, and 2nd District Rep. Jared Golden.

“We didn’t nail down a definitive time, but we’re certainly optimistic that we will have a partial season this year,” Hines said.

According to The Star, Hines said the meetings were important “to put some faces” on the issue of the international ferry service.

Bay Ferries announced on June 7 that the start date would be delayed because the Bar Harbor terminal was not ready. “The earliest date on which any service could commence is mid-summer,” a statement from the company said at the time.

Bay Ferries Chief Executive Officer Mark MacDonald told the Islander this week, “There is nothing new to report at this time.” However, he said, “All parties are focused on getting the work approved and finished.”

Last June, Bar Harbor voters authorized the purchase of the ferry terminal from the Maine Department of Transportation for $3.5 million. The town closed on the purchase of the property Jan. 31. Prior to that, in October, the Town Council approved the five-year lease agreement allowing Bay Ferries to operate from a portion of the ferry terminal.

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