Look harder



To the Editor:

From what I read in the Islander issue of Nov. 28, I agree with the position of Woodbury Road residents in Bar Harbor that the proposed electrical substation site is too residential to be abruptly converted to such a heavily industrial use, complete with the same cyclone fencing that surrounds the current facility on Eagle Lake Road.

My wife and I often walk from our home on Cleftstone Road, down West Street Extension and across Woodbury. We frequently have seen small children playing and riding bikes along that road and have noted that most of the properties are residential.

The presence of the proposed power station likely would change that neighborhood and the surrounding ones dramatically. It could lead to increased risks for children and parents in the area.

Therefore, I support the efforts to convince the Maine Public Utilities Commission that Emera should site the substation elsewhere. It appears clear that all sides in this matter agree that a more secure source of electrical power is needed. So, the discussion centers simply on where to build that new source.

Two things are needed: Propose an alternative site for a substation and propose a positive use for the Woodbury Road site currently owned/leased by Emera. What about land near the current solid waste transfer facility up the hill at the end of Ledgelawn Avenue? The current transfer facility just moved its site for collecting scrap metal from there out to the new town facilities on Crooked Road.

If the town also plans to transfer the remaining activities (trash collection and assorted recycling) of the current transfer facility out to the Crooked Road site, that would leave a substantial piece of land available that Emera could buy/lease for their substation.

What about using the lot already cleared on Woodbury Road for a neighborhood park?

Expertise on how a child-friendly “pocket park” might be constructed and maintained is abundant in Bar Harbor.

As a recently retired biology faculty member and Boy Scout leader, I can imagine that teachers and classes at the nearby Connors Elementary School might like easy access, perhaps via a van or bus, to the Woodbury Road site to take frequent nature hikes. Kids in that area could enjoy it as well.

I have heard that the MDOT uses a seed mixture of natural grasses to spray onto recently denuded areas. That might be done on some of the Woodbury Road site. If those seeds could include those of native milkweeds, the now endangered Monarch butterflies would have a convenient place to spend the summer, much as they do in the current butterfly garden in Southwest Harbor.

Gary W. Conrad

Bar Harbor

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