Talks progressing on cross-lake ferry service between Cleveland and Port Stanley


Port Stanley harbour

March 30, 2011 – A delegation of officials from Central Elgin, Ontario spent last Friday in Cleveland meeting with Cleveland-Cuyahoga County Port Authority officials and others about launching cross-lake ferry service.

Officials from both sides are eager to explore the opportunity and agreed to craft a memorandum of understanding outlining their shared vision and next steps. If a ferry service results it would begin on a pilot basis, operating between Cleveland and Port Stanley with a focus on tourism and other passenger demand.

“We were quite pleased with our discussions and impressed by Cleveland’s many tourist attractions,” said Central Elgin Mayor Bill Walters. “I believe this proposed ferry service would create a wonderful international gateway and cultivate new opportunities for travel and economic development.”
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Formal Talks on Cleveland-to-Canada Ferry Service Could Soon Begin


February 16, 2011 – Local officials in Central Elgin have agreed to begin formal discussions with the Cleveland-Cuyahoga County Port Authority regarding the launch of a ferry service between Port Stanley and Cleveland.

On Monday Central Elgin municipal council passed a resolution that supports further discussions with Cleveland port officials.

Talks between the city and Port Authority are now expected to accelerate.

“Central Elgin council is enthusiastic about looking at the potential benefits that a Lake Erie ferry may create,” said Central Elgin Mayor Bill Walters. “We don’t know yet if this new ferry concept is
the right fit for our area, but we owe it to our residents and businesses to fully investigate this concept. We will be seeking public input before making any decisions.”

Port Authority CEO Will Friedman reopened discussions with Canadian officials about the ferry service last fall. The service had been contemplated for years, but did not materialize, in part because the Canadian government had not completed a long-awaited transfer of the waterfront property to local control.

With that issue resolved, and after preliminary discussions with Cleveland port representatives in recent months, Mayor Walters recommended this week to municipal council to have more serious
discussions about establishing a pilot program of cross-lake ferry service.

“We are delighted the Central Elgin officials want to discuss this potentially exciting opportunity,” Friedman said. “We believe there is interest on both sides of the lake for this service now, and we
see that interest only growing in the next several years with construction of several major developments in Cleveland, including a casino.”

Recent discussions have lead to a shift in thinking about the ferry service and the type of vessel that would be used. While the service was initially conceived of as a freighter/truck-driven service,
a pilot program would likely focus on tourism and recreation, with truck traffic a smaller part of the mix. In addition a smaller vessel capable of traveling at faster speeds would likely be used.

Friedman said HMS Global Maritime of New Albany, Ind. has expressed interest in exploring the possibility of operating the higher-speed ferry service. Mayor Walters said he looks forward to learning more about the potential service.
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Why Lake Erie ferry plan didn’t work in Elgin County


Fishing tugs in Port Stanley harbour

Fishing tugs in Port Stanley harbour


Port Stanley was the first choice for a ferry proposal that landed this week in front of Norfolk council.

Seaport Management Corporation of Jarvis wooed the lakeside community in Elgin County for several years before turning its attention elsewhere. Seaport did so because Central Elgin council decided it didn’t want a ferry operator in its harbour.

Central Elgin has been waiting patiently for Transport Canada to turn over responsibility for the harbour to the municipality. That has yet to happen because major dredging is required, among other issues.

Yesterday, Port Stanley Coun. David Marr said the Seaport Management proposal came at a bad time. Central Elgin council wants to assume ownership of the harbour with a clean slate and take the time to examine proposals so that the facility is put to its highest and best use.

Central Elgin has asked the federal government to complete the transfer within a year. The municipality’s $100,000 business plan for the harbour makes no allowance for a ferry service.
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