By Andrew Macdonald
Last Christmas, The Notebook carried a news scoop that Chester Municipal politico Danielle Barkhouse wants a car ferry to Big Tancook Island, as well as Little Tancook.
The islands are off of Chester, and currently, a passenger ferry connects them to the Nova Scotia mainland.
It’s the Chester municipal councillor’s latest pet project, re-starting talks on a possible car ferry to the islands.
“Just a heads up on the Tancook Ferry. Talks have been started again to have the ferry based in Blandford and turn the ferry into a car ferry”, reports one of my NS South Shore well-placed sources.
“This was bounced around 20-years ago or so and was squashed, for reasons I do not remember or never knew”, adds the Notebook source.
“Jim Barkhouse may remember why it didn’t fly back then as he was an MLA at the time I think”.
Earlier this year, Barkhouse has held meetings with residents on Big Tancook Island, in the waters off Mahone Bay.
“One thing that complicates things is the Islands are part of the Municipality of Lunenburg, not the Municipality of Chester, but Chester seems to have to deal with Tancook issues, even though they don’t pay taxes into Chester Mun”, my source adds.
“This could be a football to kick around in the next provincial election as the ferry is an NS Transportation boat”, the source says.
“There are pros and cons on the Chester side & Tancook side. But I expect they will listen to the Tancook side the hardest. However, the ferry is expensive and the run is longer to Chester than Blandford”, the source details.
One thing is the population on Tancook is ever dwindling. These are my numbers, but I expect the Big Tancook population has gone from 1,000 to 125 or less (winter pop) over the past 50 years. Little Tancook population is now less than 20 residents.
Since Chester municipal politico Danielle Barkhouse is carrying the car ferry file – it could actually happen.
Barkhouse is very much an activist councillor – she is like a real dog with a bone when it comes to representing her constituents in the Village of Chester.
In other words, she gets things done – she accomplishes significant things.
In a chat with The Notebook, Barkhouse, who is running to become the NS PC standard-bearer in Chester-St. Margaret’s, she predicts within the next five years the Tancooks will have a car ferry.
“I am 90% sure we will (have a car ferry). From what I understand from the federal government, a car ferry will be moving”, she declares.
Question: What is life like on the Tancook islands, where there are year-round residents and cottage dwellers?
Barkhouse replies to The Notebook: “Back in the day, I spent a lot of time there. It’s very beautiful. It’s harmony. It’s like an opera, you enter a totally different world, the hustle and bustle of normal life is not found on the islands”.
There is a school on the islands.