Big Tancook Ferry Terminal Construction Project

Nova Scotia Public Works is developing a new vehicle ferry link to the Tancook Islands (Big Tancook Island and Little Tancook Island) from a new mainland-based ferry wharf and parking/staging area, accessible via Route 329 (Lighthouse Route) and the Gates Fish Plant Road, Blandford, Nova Scotia.


The proposed Project will provide the needed infrastructure for the docking of a new 18-car ferry and passenger boarding/disembarking to replace the current walk-on ferry that currently runs between the Town of Chester and the Tancook Islands. The new ferry system will provide shorter, more frequent trips and allow transport trucks and emergency response vehicles direct access the Tancook Islands. 


The scope of the proposed work includes the construction, operation, and maintenance of infrastructure at three Project sites: Blandford, Little Tancook Island, and Big Tancook Island, Nova Scotia.  The Big Tancook Island Project component will take place on Federal Lands (both upland and within a Fisheries and Oceans Canada - Small Craft Harbours (DFO-SCH) waterlot) and therefore subject to review under the Section 82 of the Impact Assessment Act.


The new ferry terminal and vehicle queueing area at Big Tancook Island is planned to the north of the existing DFO-SCH wharf in order to minimize disruptions to other marine operations at this location.   The proposed wharf design is a timber cribwork structure, with the timber cribs likely to be constructed on the Island with timber and rock ballast shipped to site. Cribwork will be topped with pre-cast, concrete deck slabs.


The anticipated construction sequence for the Project involves the following major tasks:

  • Mobilization by the contractor at Blandford, NS.
  • Installation of erosion and sediment controls, i.e., turbidity curtains, silt fencing, etc. at Blandford.
  • Partial construction of Blandford site to act as staging area.
  • Transportation of construction materials and equipment from Blandford to Big Tancook via barges and boats.
  • Installation of erosion and sediment controls, i.e., turbidity curtains, silt fencing, etc. at Big Tancook site.
  • Preparation of the laydown area and construction site along the shoreline at Big Tancook site.
  • Partial construction of shoreline containment area for storage of excavated marine substrate until the entire containment area can be completed.
  • Removal of the marine substrate within the wharf/slipway footprint as required.
  • Placement of the rock mattress within the wharf/slipway footprint as required.
  • Construction of the cribwork on land and floated out to final locations.
  • Construction of the timber crib wharf and slipway up to final elevations.
  • Complete construction of the shoreline containment area and relocate excavated materials as required.
  • Cap the containment area with gravels for a queuing and parking area.
  • Removal of construction materials prior to the landscaping and reinstatement of the site.
  • Removal of erosion and sediment controls and
  • Demobilization of the Contractor.


Project construction is being planned for the 2022-2023 construction seasons. 


Latest update

Notice of Determination

June 6, 2023 - Fisheries and Oceans Canada and Transport Canada have issued their Notice of Determination after evaluation of the Big Tancook Ferry Terminal Construction Project and have determined that the project is not likely to cause significant adverse environmental effects with the application of mitigation measures as outlined in their evaluation.  The project can therefore proceed.



Transport Canada - Environmental Affairs and Aboriginal Consultation
Jason Flanagan, Regional Senior Environmental Supervisor
Moncton, New Brunswick E1C 5H7
Telephone: 506-227-8257

Fisheries and Oceans Canada - Small Craft Harbours, Maritimes and Gulf Regions
Chyann Kirby, Environmental Advisor
Gulf Fisheries Centre, 343 University Avenue
Moncton, New Brunswick E1C 9B6
Telephone: 506-866-5164

Fisheries and Oceans Canada - Fisheries Protection Program
Sean Wilson, Fisheries Protection Biologist
1 Challenger Drive
Dartmouth, Nova Scotia B2Y 4A2
Telephone: 902-499-6397

  • Location

    • Big Tancook (Nova Scotia)
  • Nature of Activity

    • Ports and Harbours
  • Assessment Status

  • Start Date

  • Proponent

    Nova Scotia Department of Public Works
  • Authorities

    • Fisheries and Oceans Canada
    • Transport Canada
  • Assessment Type

    Project on federal lands
  • Reference Number


This map is for illustrative purposes. The markers represent the approximate locations based on available data. More than one marker may be identified for a given assessment.


Nearby assessments

...within 200 kilometres
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