Ferry Update – Meeting Notes

These notes were recorded by Ann Westhaver who attended the meeting about the new car ferry held in Blandford  on July 25.
Government Representatives:
Danielle Barkhouse – MLA, Chester St. Margarets
Dan Leopold – Director, Fleet Management
John Majchrowicz – Manager, Marine Services
Jason Keddy – Captain In Charge, Tancook/LaHave Ferries
Keith Boddy – Highway Design Engineer
Troy Webb – Acting Executive Director, Maintenance and Operations
Chris Dyke – Tancook Infrastructure Project Manager (COWI Engineering)
Annabelle Singleton – Environmental Analyst (Singleton Environmental Consulting)
14 passengers maximum upper deck
36 below covered
Decibal ratings very low – noise of a car
35 metres long – Ernst only 23 metres
Speed 8 knots
They will not rent out the house on Blandford property it will be for the province’s use.
Low impact on traffic in the Blandford area
Complete round trip 1 hour or less
One way 25 to 30 minutes
Intersection in Blandford will be straightened out a bit – no roundabout.
Still in the process with DFO about the site going forward due to lush eel grass
2 hectares of eelgrass found at site 1
1800 square meters of eelgrass at site 2 but only 500 meters affected.
Still waiting for DFO to sign off on Environmental study that is why no tenders have gone out.
Environmental study should be signed off any day now.
All Mi’kmaq groups have been contacted and all their concerns have been met. Drafting final decision letter to Mi’kmaq groups to sign.
Danielle has reached out to MODL and MODC regarding dry hydrants in Blandford and Tancook
Coastal Engineering did a wave study
Winds higher then 35 knots the ferry will not run.
Roads will be busy in Blandford during construction
It will be up to the company that wins the bid if they want to hire locals during the construction phase.
Because of wait for approval from DFO they do not expect construction to start until Spring of 2023
Ernst is in good shape and crossing fingers it will last 3 more years.
Lion share of residents understand the benefits of this new ferry.
Ferry makes sense
It will be a safe, reliable service
Monday to Thursday 6am first out of Tancook to 6 pm last out of Blandford
Friday 6:00 am first out of Tancook to 11:30 pm last out of Blandford
Saturday 9:00 am first out of Tancook to 7:30 pm last out of Blandford
Sunday 9:00 am first out of Tancook to 6:30 pm last out of Blandford
Little Tancook
Wharf is being turned over to the province
Majority of the wharf will become a breakwater and consideration has been taken for rising sea levels over 50 years
Working through the landowners to acquire land necessary for landing ferry
No environmental concerns
No place for any private boat to dock
Little Tancook construction will not start until Blandford and Big are completed.
Province will provide some type of service to Little during construction phase.
Will only be an on call service
Concerns about bikes on the 329, Danielle is hoping to get a blue route in the 5 year plan.
Zoning on the island will be important. Will be something MODL will need to look at.
Chester was not an option for ferry route. Blandford was the only option.
Blandford resident stated that there needs to be compassion for the residents of Tancook. We should have an understanding that this new service is important.
Blandford area will prosper. Everyone agreed progress is necessary..
If everything goes along without any hiccups then the ferry should be in operation earliest at Fall of 2024 or Spring 2025
Cost of ferry is 10.6 million

A Most Generous Gift

A Most Generous Gift

We are profoundly grateful to the Hebb’s Cross Volunteer Fire Department https://www.facebook.com/hebbscrossfire/
which has donated this 1200-gallon diesel tanker to BTIERA to strengthen our fire fighting equipment fleet. What a fine example of ‘paying it forward’ and how grateful our volunteer fire department is to receive it.

The truck was picked up this morning from Hebb’s Cross by four members of BTIERA’s board of directors: Dexter Rodenhiser, Fire Chief; Roy Thomas, Deputy Chief; Peter Stephens, Chair and Ward Carson, Treasurer. The truck will be transported from Chester to Big Tancook on the evening ferry, Sunday March 27th.

This is the official transfer of ownership from Don Llewellyn, Hebb’s Cross Fire Chief to Dexter Rodenhiser, Tancook Fire Chief.

Car Ferry Update

Please find the minutes from today’s Tancook Island Ferry Infrastructure Project Meeting. If there is something I am missing please do not hesitate to contact me. If anyone would like a pdf copy of the minutes please send me a message through email at annmwesthaver@gmail.com

Thanks Ann

Tancook Island Ferry Infrastructure Project

Information Meeting – Monday, March 21, 2022

63 Islanders from Big and Little Tancooks
Danielle Barkhouse, MLA Chester St. Margaret
Nicole Mosher – Constituency Assistant to Danielle Barkhouse
Meredith Murray, Special Advisor, NS Public Works
Daniel Leopold, Director, Fleet Management, NS Public Works
Mark Peachey, Chief Engineer (Acting), NS Public Works
John Majchrowicz, Marine Manager, NS Public Works
Chasidy Veinotte, Councillor, District 10 Municipality of the District of Lunenburg
18 car ferry
Bike racks
Upper open viewing deck – 12 seats
Inside seats – 50
Being built by AF Theriau and the ferry is in the process of being built
E.Y.E. Marine drafted the plans
Mirror of the Margaret Justice – Freeport, Long Island and Westport, Brier Island
Like the other ferries they will use the Community and the children in our school to name the new vessel. Proposed name will go to the Minister for approval.
The ferry will land off of Shoals Cove in Blandford
Province of Nova Scotia bought 22 acres for the Blandford Terminal
They found lush eelgrass in Blandford so the plans had to be altered to avoid this protected area.
They also found lush eelgrass off of Big Tancook so those plans also had to be altered slightly.
There will be a parking lot in Blandford for 75 cars.
They will encourage those visiting the islands to still travel on foot or with bicycles.
Blanford will have heated washroom facilities.
The parking lot in Blandford will have lighting but not security cameras
There will be no charge for parking or time limit someone is able to park.
Everything went through stringent environmental studies.
The new ferry will be significantly quieter than the Ernst.
The entrance to the new ferry terminal is also the road to an operational fish plant; the
road is rated for commercial traffic.
Ferry will not be handling Freight of any kind.
The tenders will be ready to go out in the next couple of weeks
Hoping work will begin in Blandford and Big Tancook late summer or early fall.
Little Tancook
Existing wharf will be cut off below waterline and will be used as a breakwater
There will be a certain length from the shore that will be used for the ferry to come in against.
The road may be realigned slightly.
When a car arrives in Blandford to go to Little there will be a separate little Tancook line and those people will be dropped off first. If a car then gets on Little going too big the car will essentially go in the opposite direction, however, the ferry can easily turn around to ensure all cars are facing the correct direction.
If there is no one on for Little or no one to be picked up the ferry will not stop there.
Little Tancooks infrastructure will be done after Blandford and Big. It will be 1 year longer for completion of Little Tancook slipways.
Once the Ernst is no longer able to dock at Little or the new ferry is put in service and construction begins on Little there will have to be an arrangement of some other type of boat/small vessel that will service Little Tancook until their infrastructure is completed.
They will look into a little shelter area on Little Tancook where walkers can wait for the ferry.
Little Tancooks project timeline puts the new service in place by Fall of 2024 or Spring of 2025. (1 year after Big Tancook and Blandford)
If something happens to the Little Tancook Wharf prior to this time it was stated that the Federal Government owns that wharf so it would be their jurisdiction regarding the wharf structure.
Big Tancook
There will be a waiting shelter built for those waiting for the next ferry.
There will be a cue area that will hold 20 cars to wait for the ferry and there is a separate exit road for those exiting the ferry.
Big vehicles, trailers, trucks etc. will be able to cross on this ferry – there will have to be an education piece as depending on level of tide there could be issues entering and exiting the ramps.
It will be first come first serve. Island residents will not be able to butt in front of non residents.
Government wants to ensure they are being honest, open and transparent with this whole process.
Each shift requires 4 crew members.
Mark Peachy says yes our roads will be fixed once the service is up and ready.
At this time the schedule for start and stop times will not change. They will look at the schedule but no commitment will be made to change the time. But they will listen to the residents and welcome your opinions on scheduling. Schedule has not yet been decided.
Big Tancook and Blandford expected time to start construction is late summer or early fall.
Completion of Big Tancook and Blandford will be Fall of 2023 or Spring 2024.
Ernst is still fit to run for another two years.
This service will be much better for the islanders.
Question was asked about our mail service, it was suggested we contact our MP ( I popped a message off to Rick Perkins and he will have his team look into this.)
Public Wifi on the ferry – There is currently no service to offer this option.
How will the new service affect our children that go off island to school. I have sent an email off to Paul Ash asking this question. (Stay tuned)
Walls will not be higher on the ferry. Essentially the vessel will be a mirror of the Margaret Justice.
The ferry can run up to sea winds of 35 – 45 knots.

Please help support Tancook’s historic Baptist Church

Please help support Tancook’s historic Baptist Church

Many people have taken notice that the Baptist Church has installed a new metal roof.
It was a costly undertaking, but much needed to preserve this historic place of worship.
Donations would be appreciated to diminish the expense.
A $20.00 donation or more will be issued an income tax receipt.
Donations can be sent to:
Big Tancook Island Baptist Church
P.O.Box 40
Big Tancook Island, NS B0J 3G0
Or, by e-transfer, please contact:
tancookunitedbaptist@gmail.com and the instructions will be provided.
Let’s keep our Church well maintained for the future.
With thanks and gratitude,
Big Tancook Island Baptist Church officers.



Greetings, ferry passengers!

The new car ferry will come with many benefits:

  • a new shorter route, landing in Blandford instead of Chester
  • more frequent trips
  • access for transport trucks and emergency response vehicles

To accommodate the larger car ferry, the province is building a new wharf on Big Tancook Island. The wharf is on land leased from the federal government. Therefore, we must complete a federal government regulatory approval process.

Your part in this approval process is to complete an online survey. The survey assesses the impact of the ferry on your daily life. It asks questions like why you take the ferry and how often. Answers should be easy.

The survey will go live tomorrow morning. (Friday. Nov. 12) and will be available for a few weeks.

We encourage you to complete it.

Online Socio-economic Impact Assessment Survey:



A Beautiful Belated Letter of Gratitude to an Unknown Tancook Family

In 1970, as 16 year-old boys just having received driver’s licenses, a friend and I drove from Porcupine (Timmins) Ontario to Hantsport, Nova Scotia to visit a favored high school history teacher. On a sight-seeing journey to the ocean, near Lunenburg, this teacher queried a ferry captain on where he would be traveling. At the time the fare was 25¢ – assuming that couldn’t take us very far, five of us, including the teacher, his wife and one-month old son climbed on board.

Not long after departure, it was discovered we were headed to Big Tancook Island and the ferry would not be returning to the mainland until the following morning. Most of the passengers were school children returning home. Too late for the captain to turn back then. We had some supplies for the baby, but not many.

Landing at the docks at Big Tancook, after explaining the situation, the teacher queried a fisherman working on his boat, asking if he knew of anyone that might be returning to the mainland that afternoon.

He did not, however, without hesitation, he said that we could go to his home and his wife would have food for the baby and a change if that was required. We boys crawled into the back of his old, rusty pickup truck while the teacher, his wife and baby rode up front. We shared a fantastic dinner with this family and afterwards the fisherman returned to the docks to see if there was a possibility for a ride back to the mainland. If not, we could spend the night with them.

He came back in short order advising that he talked to the captain of a very nice large yacht and he would be heading, in short order, back to the mainland. We were able to take that ride – that captain even toured us a round some of the sites including the famed Oak Island.

I do not remember the names of the couple that were so kind to us on Big Tancook, and I have felt remiss for years in not sending them a note of substantial appreciation and gratitude. I’m not sure if this couple would still be with us, but surely if the citizens of Big Tancook have hearts like these two, it must be an absolutely wonderful place.

Kindest Regards,
Ron Tuohimaa

Letter from Peter Stephens

This letter from Peter Stephens acknowledges the people who contributed to a successful Covid pop up testing clinic on Big Tancook Island on May 7, 2021

I would like to take this opportunity to thank the following:

Hugh MacKay our MLA for assisting in making this happen.

Dept. of Transportation and Infrastructure Renewal, in particular Captain in Charge Jason Keddy, who facilitated and organized the ferry schedule and enabled the ferry to be used as the testing site for Little Tancook residents. As well as the crew for their patience and support.

Martin Hiltz, for helping to organize the Little Tancook end of things.

Angela Henhoeffer, our local REMO representative who did so much to organize the popup test site on both islands and was the coordinator with Public Health.

Dr John Ross from Public Health and his amazing team for coming out to do the tests, including going to people’s homes to perform test.

To amazing volunteers who gave up their day to organize the site, provide transportation and ensure things ran smoothly:

Ward Carson
Bonny Cross
Peggy Seward
Kat Swift, in particular whose meticulous record keeping and attention to detail helped speed up the testing process.

Food was provided by Ann Westhaver, Lesley Stephens and Pam Baker, who made the food for the test team and refused payment. Thank you!

Tancook Community Rec Center for providing their facilities.

To so many of you for showing up and taking the test. In closing remember that the current rules are still in place:

Washing hands
Social distancing and not socializing as per provincial guidelines, check for updates to keep current. Keep up the good work and stay safe.

On behalf of all BTIERA members.

Peter Stephens