MOUNT DESERT ISLAND — Bar Harbor Town Councilor Jill Goldthwait is asking officials of surrounding towns if they might be interested in working together on sustainability issues and, perhaps, jointly hiring a sustainability coordinator.
She made her pitch at Tuesday’s meeting of the Acadia-area League of Towns board, which is composed of municipal administrators and elected officials.
“Are there towns that would like to get together for a conversation, so we know who is doing what, and talk about the possibility of doing something jointly?” Goldthwait asked.
“Bar Harbor is interested in hiring a sustainability coordinator, but we are not sure we can fund that position by ourselves, and it’s hard to think of attracting somebody to the island for a part-time position. We’re trying to create a climate action plan, and we probably would be well advised to have some professional help doing that.”
Goldthwait asked the town officials to get in touch with her if they would like to “offer up a volunteer” for an initial meeting.
“I think most of our towns have people who are interested and have some background in this,” she said. “But that doesn’t mean that if your town doesn’t have it on their radar screen yet that you wouldn’t be welcome to participate.”
Mount Desert Town Manager Durlin Lunt said Phil Lichtenstein, chairman of the town’s sustainability committee, would be a natural choice to represent Mount Desert.
Stu Marckoon, administrative assistant to the Lamoine Board of Selectmen, said he would run the idea by his board.
“We have a very active conservation commission, which I’m sure could scare up several people for you,” he told Goldthwait.
Goldthwait said that, with environmental concerns, “Everybody has sort of a favorite issue, so it’s hard to keep a task force focused as opposed to everybody raising whatever their particular issue is. So, we think a professional would be a great help in keeping us on a path to get to an actual climate action plan.”
She noted that a state survey has identified Tremont as one of the 10 municipalities in Maine that are most at risk from the effects of climate change, specifically sea level rise.
Tremont Town Manager Chris Saunders said it isn’t that Tremont is lower than many other coastal communities. Rather, it likely is because Tremont Consolidated School is at the edge of Bass Harbor Marsh.
“There is a very large septic field that would fail if flooded,” he said.