The downtown Dartmouth Business Commission is starting a campaign to bring back the late night ferries.
"It is way too far to swim across the harbour," said Tim Rissesco, executive director of the Downtown Dartmouth Business Commission. "So, we have to do something. People like being on the water. It is part of the fun in living here."
The late night ferry service was reduced in August. At that time council cut the ferry crossings after 10:30 p.m. Monday to Thursday.
A compromise motion did pass and saved the late night service on Friday and Saturday.
But a recent proposal by Coun. Gloria McCluskey to restore the late night service throughout the week has given Rissesco new hope, he said.
At a council meeting in January McCluskey made a motion to extend the hours to as late as midnight or even later.
"This is disgusting," said McCluskey. "The ferry covers 51 per cent of it's costs. The average for buses is in the low forties. I see many buses go by my house that are empty."
McCluskey suggested those living and working downtown start a petition. Rissesco said he has enlisted support from businesses in downtown Halifax as well as Dartmouth.
"The late night ferry is a vital link for our downtowns across the harbour. The ferry is an iconic symbol of our city and an essential part of our urban life. It is important to businesses, workers, residents and tourists to our city."
Reinstating the runs could cost $150,000 and council is expected to vote on the proposal in April.
"But reinstating the late night service shouldn't just be about cost recovery," said Rissesco. "They should be thinking of the urban development of a vibrant downtown."
Randy Misener works in downtown Dartmouth at WCL Bauld Insurance.
"Three thousand new families are poised to move into the downtown area over the next few years. This is mainly the result of the King's Wharf condominium development in Dartmouth Cove, which will also provide new commercial development opportunities as well. Bringing back the late night ferry service is absolutely vital as it will give folks an attractive alternative to staying in Halifax, having to take a cab, bus or drive their car over the bridge, especially if they plan on drinking alcohol."
Rissessco says getting back and forth to Moosehead games during the week is not an option now for many people, including him.
"Who wants to sit in traffic forever? What about late night workers trying to get home? And it just makes good environmental sense to use our waterways and keep cars off the roads."
To sign the petition, chec out: