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Garneau announces big bucks for Marine Atlantic

Marine Atlantic president and CEO Paul Griffin, left, Transport Minister Marc Garneau and Long Range Mountains MP Gudie Hutchings. Garneau was in Port aux Basques July 13 to announce $22 million in federal money for projects at Marine Atlantic facilities in Port aux Basques and North Sydney.
Marine Atlantic president and CEO Paul Griffin, left, Transport Minister Marc Garneau and Long Range Mountains MP Gudie Hutchings. Garneau was in Port aux Basques July 13 to announce $22 million in federal money for projects at Marine Atlantic facilities in Port aux Basques and North Sydney.

Substantial funds will be coming to Marine Atlantic from the federal government.

Federal Transport Minister Marc Garneau was in Port aux Basques July 13 to announce $22 million in federal funds for upgrades at Marine Atlantic facilities on both sides of the Cabot Strait.

The funds were part of the federal budget announced in April and will cover three projects.

The first will involve upgrades to mooring technology in Port aux Basques and North Sydney.

"Current mooring practices here have been mostly manual," Garneau said. "I think this new technology will increase safety and decrease chances of damage."

The second project will be used to upgrade docking fenders in Port aux Basques and North Sydney. Garneau said that project will help reduce wear on both vessels and docks.

The final project will involve replacing the storm sewer system in Port aux Basques.

Garneau said investing in a service like Marine Atlantic as the right thing to do.

"It allows the company to develop a multi-year plan to revitalize its fleet and shore facilities," he said. "It demonstrates the federal government's commitment to support ferry services that are an integral part of this region."

During his visit, Garneau addressed concerns raised by passengers and commercial carriers regarding Marine Atlantic's rates. Those rates increased earlier this year.

Garneau said there are multiple costs associated with running the ferries and purchasing new equipment, but he said efforts are made to find a balance.

The minister was also asked about a court case being pursued by Oceanex Inc. regarding federal subsidies provided to Marine Atlantic. Oceanex's executive chairman, Capt. Sid Hynes, has said the subsidies give Marine Atlantic an unfair competitive advantage and is seeking a court order to force a review of Marine Atlantic's rates.

Garneau said he would not comment on the matter as it is before the courts.

Federal Transport Minister Marc Garneau was in Port aux Basques July 13 to announce $22 million in federal funds for upgrades at Marine Atlantic facilities on both sides of the Cabot Strait.

The funds were part of the federal budget announced in April and will cover three projects.

The first will involve upgrades to mooring technology in Port aux Basques and North Sydney.

"Current mooring practices here have been mostly manual," Garneau said. "I think this new technology will increase safety and decrease chances of damage."

The second project will be used to upgrade docking fenders in Port aux Basques and North Sydney. Garneau said that project will help reduce wear on both vessels and docks.

The final project will involve replacing the storm sewer system in Port aux Basques.

Garneau said investing in a service like Marine Atlantic as the right thing to do.

"It allows the company to develop a multi-year plan to revitalize its fleet and shore facilities," he said. "It demonstrates the federal government's commitment to support ferry services that are an integral part of this region."

During his visit, Garneau addressed concerns raised by passengers and commercial carriers regarding Marine Atlantic's rates. Those rates increased earlier this year.

Garneau said there are multiple costs associated with running the ferries and purchasing new equipment, but he said efforts are made to find a balance.

The minister was also asked about a court case being pursued by Oceanex Inc. regarding federal subsidies provided to Marine Atlantic. Oceanex's executive chairman, Capt. Sid Hynes, has said the subsidies give Marine Atlantic an unfair competitive advantage and is seeking a court order to force a review of Marine Atlantic's rates.

Garneau said he would not comment on the matter as it is before the courts.

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