BAR HARBOR — The town has been awarded a $50,000 Shore and Harbor Planning Grant by the Maine Department of Marine Resources to help with the completion of a master plan for the international ferry terminal property on Eden Street. The funds are expected to be received in August.
The Town Council voted unanimously last year to raze the terminal after an engineering study found that the structure was no longer viable.
But what will replace it is still in question. The council has been leaning toward the creation of a marina and hired a consultant in July of 2021 to study the terminal and create concept drawings for a marina facility.
There are a lot of possible uses, explained Harbormaster Christopher Wharff, noting that all opinions are welcome as the process unfolds.
The grant will allow the town to engage professional planning services, which, at the end of the process, should yield a concept. From there, said Wharff, engineering designs and costs estimates can be obtained.
“We want to get it right the first time,” Wharff said.
The former ferry terminal was built in 1956 and was designed specifically for the Bluenose ferry. That ferry is no longer in service, and the layout is now obsolete.
The existing design consists of two causeways, a north and south pier, two steel vehicle bridges between the piers and a dilapidated building.
Bay Ferries, which runs the CAT ferry between Bar Harbor and Nova Scotia, owns a roll-on/roll-off transfer bridge, a steel pontoon barge and pile dolphins extending from the north causeway.
The pier, bought by the town in 2018, has been deteriorating for years and is currently closed to the public. Several pilings are in “critical” condition and the surface has little to no live-load capacity.