BAR HARBOR — The town will proceed with the demolition of the aging state ferry terminal once it has a plan to replace it.
The Town Council voted unanimously last Tuesday night to move forward with demolition of the existing pier at 121 Eden Street and any infrastructure not needed for the town to fulfill its contract with Bay Ferries, which operates the CAT ferry to Nova Scotia.
That recommendation came from the Harbor Committee, which sat down with the council last month in a workshop and went over potential plans for the site. The committee has suggested a new marina, though the exact future has not been hashed out yet.
The wrecking ball won’t be swinging anytime soon, though, according to town officials.
“The Harbor Committee will continue to work on a master plan,” Town Manager Cornell Knight wrote in an email. “Demolition will occur when we raise the money and there is (a) replacement plan in place.”
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.
Bay Ferries did not run last year and isn’t running this year but is expected to come back to Bar Harbor next spring.
Last month, the town’s consultant presented several different marina concepts to the council and committee. All included demolishing the north pier and replacing it with dolphins.
The decision to approve the demolishing of the pier puts to bed any chance of repairing the current structure, which was estimated as costing more than a new one. Some people had previously raised the idea of preserving the pier as it is a one-of-a-kind structure that could never be built again under current regulations.
All the concepts for a new marina at the property were pegged at around $14 million.