Hon. Lionel Chevrier (Minister of Transport):
In November, 1950, Mr. Speaker, I made an announcement that the lack of steel had made it necessary for the government to suspend temporarily construction of the proposed Yarmouth-Bar Harbor ferry. Today I am happy to inform the house that the government has reviewed the situation with respect to availability of scarce materials and, on the advice of the Canadian maritime commission, and after consultation with the premier of Nova Scotia has agreed that tenders should now be invited for the construction of the vessel.
I should like to remind the house that the Yarmouth-Bar Harbor ferry project is not only a federal-provincial project, it is an international project including as it does the construction of approaches, causeway, pierhead and terminal facilities by the state of Maine and the town of Bar Harbor. I am happy to say that the Maine legislature has passed, and the governor has signed, the legislative bill relating to this work.
May I say a word or two about the ship itself? The vessel will have an over-all length of 348 feet; breadth at main deck 65 feet; car capacity 150 automobiles; total passengers carried 600. There are two car decks, the lower car deck having head clearance for long-distance refrigerated trailer trucks and buses. The service speed of the vessel will be approximately 18J knots. A notable feature of the vessel's construction is that it will be equipped with a Denny-Brown stabilizer which has the effect of minimizing vesselrolling during rough weather. In the summer tourist season the ship is scheduled to make the round-trip voyage in daylight hours. Our Nova Scotia members can readily appreciate the value of such a unit.
While initially the ferry will be dependent on summer tourist traffic, the real justification for the vessel is the hope that having furnished this new gateway there will develop a commercial business by truck which will bring the produce of Nova Scotia to the markets of the United States and vice
versa. The ship, in reality, will be a continuation of the highway between Maine and Nova Scotia, along which will flow countless automobiles with passengers anxious to visit and admire the beauties of Nova Scotia and of the New England coast line.
I think that in fairness, Mr. Speaker, I should add that the hon. member for Digby-Yarmouth (Mr. Kirk) has been pressing me for a statement on this subject for the last two days. I have suggested to him that he not ask a question in the house concerning it because I hoped to be able to make a statement. I am sorry it was not possible to do so before this morning.
Subtopic: YARMOUTH-BAR HARBOR ANNOUNCEMENT OF CONSTRUCTION OF VESSEL