The province and STM Quest Inc. have signed an agreement to support a new cruise ferry in Yarmouth, to begin in May 2014. The province has received a signed copy of the agreement and amendments from STM Quest Inc. The company has committed to a May start.
The province and company agreed to make amendments to the letter of offer announced in early September. The parties have:
— clarified language and added more detail including how the province will provide funding during the start-up phase, and the terms of senior management salary deferral during the start-up and if there are operating losses
— revised deadlines for conditions the company must meet
— clarified how and when ST Marine will provide its $3 million contribution
— added auditing rights for the province for more accountability
The province’s financial commitment remains the same. It will provide $21 million to the company over seven years, including $10.5 million toward start-up costs, with $1.5 million each year for marketing.
There are a number of terms and conditions for STM Quest Inc. to receive the assistance and earn forgiveness for the loan.
For a ferry to start operating in 2014, STM Quest, other levels of government and partners must work on: having border services in place in both ports, upgrading the Yarmouth ferry terminal, signing berthing agreements in the two ports, and getting all licences and permits needed to operate a ferry service.
Marketing the ferry and Nova Scotia to potential visitors from the mid-Atlantic and north eastern United States are key parts of the service. The Nova Scotia Tourism Agency has been meeting with STM Quest Inc. to co-ordinate the province’s tourism marketing plans with the company’s detailed plan.
Background information is available at http://novascotia.ca/econ/ in the Initiatives section.