Don’t rush big decision

To the Editor:

The people of Bar Harbor will soon own a valuable piece of the waterfront in their town. It’s important for the town council to take adequate time to make the best decision about the future of the land we are purchasing.

And the time spent in choosing should include a process in which every person who lives in Bar Harbor is given an opportunity to have a voice in helping to make the best decision. It’s important for three elements to be considered.

The Ferry Terminal Property Advisory Committee (FTPAC), composed of 40 Bar Harbor residents appointed by town council, worked diligently for weeks studying the site and making careful recommendations which were widely praised by the people of the town and unanimously accepted by the town council.

This advice must not be set aside, even temporarily.

FTPAC’s proposal includes: an ADA-accessible pier to accommodate tenders, ferries, tour boats, water taxis and commercial fishing boats; an all-tides public boat launching ramp; tie-ups and mooring for the use of residents and visitors; beach access for launching kayaks and canoes; a breakwater to reduce ocean swells; a facility with fuel, water, electricity, Wi-Fi, restrooms and showers, and working waterfront space for Bar Harbor commercial fishermen.

Concerning Bay Ferries Limited, it is a company which has a track record in Bar Harbor, and that record is without redeeming qualities.

Without warning in 2009 it discontinued service on the Bar Harbor route. “Fool us once, shame on you. Fool us twice, shame on us!”

Furthermore, look at the condition in which the terminal was left when the CAT abandoned us.

Another ferry proposal has now been received by the town and it needs adequate consideration. Downeast Windjammer Cruises, which operates local passenger ferries in Hancock and Washington counties has decided to compete on offering ferry service between Maine and Nova Scotia.

Its vessel may potentially have a smaller footprint on the site than that of the large Bay Ferries’ CAT, and the company is offering us more money. In addition, an important source of revenue could result from implementing an infrastructure fee of $2 for tendered cruise ship visitations which was recommended by the town’s consultants, and these earnings would also pay us more than the CAT is offering for a lease.

Here is an unusual opportunity for our entire town to join in the momentous decision of what to place on our very own piece of rare waterfront property. We are in a seaside town and a fitting plan could help us all enjoy the sea! Could it be important not to rush a decision concerning this magnificent opportunity?

Anne Marie Quin

Bar Harbor

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