To The Editor:
People from around the bay have no vote, no representation in planning or approving plans for the ferry terminal pier project. We depend on you, the good citizens of Bar Harbor, to represent our interests as well as your own and those of our pristine beloved bay.
I have been coming to Hancock Point since 1940. I live here half the year, but when I think of home, it is always our spot of heaven overlooking the bay. For four generations now, my family has felt that, no matter where we are in the world, Maine and Hancock Point nurture us, give us our solace and strength in times of need, and joy in times of happiness.
We are on the west shore and gaze directly at the Bluenose terminal site. We used to enjoy seeing the twinkling lights of the ferry or The Cat as they came in at night. To see two 20-story cruise ships and a half-mile long pier blazing away at night is pure visual pollution.
In September 2012, there was a strong southwest gale all one night. A tour boat broke loose from its mooring in Bar Harbor and was blown across the bay to the rocks just below our house. This is the path that discharge and smokestack pollution will follow. We would be its direct recipients.
Although I pay property taxes, buy goods and services, employ people, patronize restaurants, I am not a resident and am disenfranchised in this matter, as are all others who live in other communities surrounding the bay.
Many of us feel that any development of the pier must be appropriate in scale and nature to what the area has to offer. Bar Harbor and the park present the opportunity for a unique adventure for cruising tourists as they do for land tourists. Bar Harbor is not Las Vegas. It is not Disneyland. My favorite way to approach it is by water, as one does in a tender or tour boat. Walking out of a 20-story ship onto a huge concrete pier, through a big hanger of a terminal, to be scooped up by a long line of waiting buses sets the wrong tone for the entire experience.
We also feel that the project should do no harm: that visual, environmental, ecological and noise pollution should be kept to an absolute minimum and should be fully in accordance with all existing shoreline and maritime regulations.
Many of us would support a smaller pier that docks tenders, ferries, small cruise ships and does not impose an impossible burden on the taxpayers of Bar Harbor or the state. Small boat launching, a small visitor center, a landscaped public park all would enhance the property.
So I make this plea to the citizens of Bar Harbor: Please keep in mind that you are acting here not only for yourselves but for the future of Bar Harbor and for the citizens of the surrounding communities who have a vested interest in the beauty and the health of the bay as well as the character, the economy and the hospitality of Bar Harbor.
Ann Michelson Hirschhorn