MOUNT DESERT — The town’s plan to extend the northernmost floats at the Northeast Harbor Marina to provide a new berth for the Maine Sea Coast Mission vessel, Sunbeam, was approved by the planning board last week.
The extension already had been given the green light by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, the Maine Department of Environmental Protection and the Submerged Lands Program of the Maine Bureau of Parks and Lands.
Voters at town meeting will be asked to authorize spending up to $260,000 from the marina’s undesignated funds account for the project. The T-shaped addition to the float system would consist of a 38-foot extension from the end of the existing float and an 86-foot finger float that would be perpendicular to the extension
Sunbeam’s berth would be on the outer side of the new float. There would be two slips on the inside that the town could rent for pleasure craft. Harbormaster John Lemoine said he could easily have filled those two slips last summer. He estimates those slips would generate $20,000 to $30,000 in revenue a year.
Because of Sunbeam’s size and design, the concrete float would need to have steel pilings.
“These are the docks they use in Alaska to tie up crab boats, and the Sunbeam is pretty much in that category,” Lemoine said.
The project also includes the underwater extension of utilities including water, electricity and Wi-Fi.
If voters approve spending for the float extension, Lemoine said the project would then go out for bid, and construction probably would take place in September.
Northeast Harbor is the home port for Sunbeam, which the Sea Coast Mission uses to provide “spiritual, health and youth development programs” to coastal and island communities. The vessel has been berthed in a more prominent location beside the main wharf at the marina since 1995. Rev. Scott Planting, president of the Sea Coast Mission, told town officials last summer that he would prefer that Sunbeam remain at its current berth.
But members of the town’s marine management committee said that space beside the pier is needed for lobster boats and other commercial craft.
With the additional space that the float extension would provide, committee members have said it should not take long for it to pay for itself.