Yarmouth town council has kicked off a second phase of upgrades to its ferry terminal.
Councillors agreed Thursday to hire Halifax-based Lydon Lynch Architects to do a concept design at a cost of $48,500.
The improvements, which must be approved by the Canada Border Services Agency, are required for security reasons.
"To meet their present standards, we actually have to bump out the building — north and south — and do a full renovation, which will be quite expensive," said Marc Brophy, the town engineer.
The first phase of the redevelopment, which is almost finished, involved new ticket booths and new lighting at a cost of $9 million. The bill was shared among Ottawa, the province and three municipalities — the Town of Yarmouth, the Municipality of the District of Yarmouth and the Municipality of the District of Argyle.
The second phase is expected to cost even more.
Ottawa has 'high demands,' says councillor
"It's too bad the federal government didn't keep the building to begin with," said Coun. Derek Lesser. "They have high demands, but we're just a small community."
The Town of Yarmouth took over ownership of the terminal from the federal government in 2012 when it was trying to get the international ferry service to Maine back in operation. The service was reinstated in 2014.
"It's unfortunate that we own [the terminal], but that's what we were advised at the time was necessary, and that's what we have to live with," said Jeff Gushue, Yarmouth's CAO.
Hope to be ready for whenever crossings resume
Mayor Pam Mood said she expects more financial assistance from other levels of government and neighbouring municipalities for the second phase of upgrades.
She said she hopes to have the upgrades completed before the ferry operation resumes service.
"Nobody knows when that will be, but we have to be ready on our end," said Mood.
In February, the provincial government announced the cancellation of the 2021 sailing season between Yarmouth and Bar Harbor, Maine, due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
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