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Prescott waiting on U.S. border officials for ferry pilot project

The ferry pilot project between Prescott and Ogdensburg may be sunk for this year as time goes on.

Prescott and Ogdensburg have been discussing a ferry pilot project that would run in the third week of July and the August Civic Holiday.

At this week’s Council meeting, Mayor Brett Todd says it really is in the American’s hands if the project will run this summer. Todd says the Canada Border Services Agency (CBSA) has offered to provide the border security protection and clearances for the ferry port of entry on the Canada side. Todd says the port would be open at either the marina or possibly an adjacent area. He adds the only cost would be a security fence of some sort, which Todd says would be very minor.

“They (CBSA) would provide the officers, man power, time and equipment to do the processing. So (I’m) really, really happy that CBSA came forward with that and not just one year, for two years.”

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Todd says the CBSA has promised their offer could go next year as well if the project doesn’t run this year.

Todd says, from what he understands, the Americans did not receive the same sort of willingness. Todd says Homeland Security and Customs and Border Protection were looking at it as more of a new port of entry with all the costs. Todd says they were asking for an “extreme amount of money.”

“I’m not sure if someone doesn’t want this to happen in the U.S. I’m not talking about people locally but perhaps senior officials with the government or if there’s a misunderstanding the numbers were talking about here, because we’re talking about a small vessel, 12 to 15 people plus room for bicycles.”

Todd says, in Ogdensburg, a resolution was passed unanimously that urged the U.S. Customs and Border Protection to work with the CBSA, Ogdensburg and Prescott to create a joint seasonal point of entry with the purpose to conduct the pilot project. Todd adds Prescott is prepared to go over and meet at any time but the clock is ticking.

Todd says they may be able to push the decision a little bit into next week whether the project will go this summer. He adds they were essentially talking about a deadline of July first.

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