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Authority halts work on ferry terminal

Thursday, December 9, 2004 - Page A17

The beached fast ferry from Rochester to Toronto received a new blow this week when the Toronto Port Authority decided not to complete the interior of the $6.5-million terminal being built for the now-defunct service.

TPA director of operations Ken Lundy confirmed yesterday that the federal agency spelled out its decision in a letter sent last week to Rochester Mayor Bill Johnson.

“We are going to keep our options open on finishing the ferry terminal,” said Mr. Lundy, explaining the gist of a letter sent by TPA chairman Henry Pankratz to the Rochester mayor.

He said the TPA will complete construction of the building by late January. The total project, with sewer, water and road improvements, is worth about $10.5-million. But the agency will not proceed on any work to the interior, at an estimated cost of several hundred thousand dollars, since it is not clear now who will occupy the space.

Mr. Lundy noted that the ferry boat appears slated to go on the auction block in late January, now that efforts by the City of Rochester to buy the boat from its operator, Canadian American Transportation Systems, have failed.

Halting work on the interior of the building, Mr. Lundy said, “will provide us with more flexibility should we need to put it [the terminal] for other purposes and other tenants.”

The TPA has no tenants nailed down for the new terminal, located near the foot of Cherry Street.

“There are a variety of things possible,” he said, citing examples such as charter and tour boat operators.

He said the letter was prompted by an update meeting this month between the TPA, the Rochester mayor, the Australian lender that financed the ferry and New York state politicians.