BAR HARBOR — Water will be shut off October 25 in the seasonal sections of the town water system, following a unanimous Town Council decision last week.
The council took up the issue following a request from Salisbury Cove residents and business owners at an April neighborhood meeting. The neighborhood is home to several motels and rental cottage businesses, some of which must close for the season when the water is shut off.
For the past six years, said Chip Reeves, Public Works director, water to Salisbury Cove and other areas served by the seasonal lines has been shut down the Tuesday after the Mount Desert Island Marathon in October. That meant the actual date fluctuated through a seven-day range.
Under the arrangement, the latest the water had been shut off was Oct. 22, said David Bowden, owner of Edgewater Motel and Cottages. Next year, it would fall on Oct. 18.
“That’s almost a week loss of rental business,” he said. “If we do have an early freeze, I’ll have a lot bigger problems than a frozen meter – I have exposed copper pipe.”
When the plan to schedule around the marathon was put in place, he said, the tourist season wound down earlier in October. Now, more visitors are coming all the way to Halloween.
Wally Gray of Emery’s Cottages agreed that a fixed date for the shutoff “would really be a help.”
In a memo to councilors, Reeves said that in years temperatures have dropped early, the water department has had problems completing the routine tasks of flushing, pumping and winterizing fire hydrants. They have also encountered frozen water meters and service valves, or been unable to locate plugs and drains.
“I just want to identify the risks involved in case costs go up,” Reeves said at the meeting.
Councilor Gary Friedmann proposed a fixed date of Oct. 25. “It’s not a drastic change,” he said. “We’re saying we want to work with you to make your businesses viable.”