HALIFAX - Gordon Stevens is hoping to land a new water taxi in Halifax after floating the idea of the Kipper Bus online.
© Metro Halifax/Jeff Harper
A fisherman checks his traps near the McNabs Island Lighthouse last year.
Stevens, president of The Uncommon Group, would like to see a water taxi that helps people explore McNabs‚Äô beaches, trails, and historic forts more easily.
‚ÄúIt doesn‚Äôt make sense that we can‚Äôt get out there ‚Ä¶ regularly and make better use of this unbelievable resource staring us right in the face.‚ÄĚ
Related:New hairstyle shop blows into town, Halifax business first of its kind in Atlantic CanadaParty time: Halifax fans pack local bars to watch Canada win Olympic hockey goldGeek it up Halifax: New videogame lounge set to open on waterfront
The island is mostly a provincial park with a few private properties, about five kilometers long and one and a half wide with lots of deer, birds and other wildlife.
Stevens said the spot has long been used as a recreational area for Haligonians, and from 1870 through 1930 there were two pleasure grounds featuring games, dancing and eventually amusement rides.
A couple guides take people from Eastern Passage, and groups can book on Murphy‚Äôs Waterfront Taxi in Halifax, but there‚Äôs no way for one or two people to go out quickly.
A ferry ran out to the island in the 1980s, but Stevens said no one has likely tried to start another because the harbour was too dirty until recent years.
Stevens started the @KipperBusHFX Twitter account to start a dialogue around how to make the ferry a reality, and said he‚Äôs been ‚Äúreally shocked‚ÄĚ by the positive reception from the Friends of McNabs Island Society, the province and other stakeholders.
‚ÄúThere‚Äôs been no barriers put up in the least,‚ÄĚ Stevens said, adding they still need to work out an affordable price so families could afford to go a few times a year.
It would also be great to open the door for someone else to take over the project, Stevens said.
‚ÄúIf not, then we‚Äôll keep looking and we‚Äôll figure out a way to buy a boat,‚ÄĚ he said with a laugh.
McNabs offers history, wildlife environment: society
Having an affordable way to bring people back and forth to McNabs to ‚Äústumble upon history‚ÄĚ would be a good idea, said the Friends of McNabs Island Society president Cathy McCarthy.
McCarthy said the island is full of potential although the province lists it as a non-operational park. There aren‚Äôt many facilities there, so the society has fundraised for a composting toilet, benches and trail upkeep but anyone can book a campsite through Natural Resources as well.
There are several old British forts and canons from the early days of Halifax, like the Fort McNab national historic site and Fort Ives, McCarth said, plus abandoned Victorian gardens.
‚ÄúIt has all these historic buildings and artifacts and forts and canons and so on, but it‚Äôs reverted back to wildlife,‚ÄĚ McCarthy said.
‚ÄúIt‚Äôs like a wild, natural environment park but you just stumble upon history everywhere you walk.‚ÄĚ
Sandy spots like Maugers Beach are also popular, McCarthy said, and the society is hoping to eventually turn an old teahouse into an information centre.