To the Editor:
Islander letter writer Robert Jordan missed the mark in his May 4 letter about Article 13 in Bar Harbor. He speculated as to “hidden motives” of those who want to give voters of Bar Harbor “cruise control”: a chance to have a voice and a vote on any changes to current levels of cruise ship tourism.
I have worked closely with the drafters and circulators of Article 13; none are anti-cruise ship. None, however, believe that bigger always means better. The claim that this campaign is funded from those “from away” is baseless. My wife and I have spent significant money and countless hours trying to give voters cruise control because we care deeply about our village and the Park that surrounds it.
As an Article 13 advocate, I would love to see the ferry terminal site become a modest ship pier, able to dock small cruise ships, ferries of any size to Winter Harbor and Nova Scotia, whale watch boats, etc.
In a village that limits hotels to four stories, I do not want to have two cruise ships, each over 20 stories high, dominate the waterfront so close to shore. Let those ships anchor at a distance and continue to use tender boats to bring their passengers to shore.
We are a premier location for cruise ship tourism, and Bar Harbor voters should set the terms, not have them set by a cruise ship industry based in Miami.
The Warrant Committee closely analyzed Article 13 and endorsed it by a 14-5 vote.
The town’s paid consultant, Luis Ajamil, admitted at the October 2016 Planning Board public hearing that the pier he had helped design for the town would extend almost a half mile into Frenchman Bay and would be able to dock two cruise ships, each almost 1200 feet long. He said that the goal in his company’s report was to triple the number of cruise ship passengers visiting Bar Harbor. Article 13 merely insures that should such a plan come before the voters, they would have a chance to amend the LUO to allow it.
Yes, Bar Harbor is “on the verge of losing control and access” to the ferry terminal site that it sold long ago for one dollar. It is in danger of losing control of that property to bureaucrats in Augusta and cruise ship promoters in Miami. By voting for Article 13, voters can give themselves cruise control.