To the Editor:
Our collective purchase of the former ferry terminal site has given Bar Harbor a wonderful opportunity to encourage and support small entrepreneurs, while making life here much more pleasant for residents.
Last November Town Council’s 40-member citizen task force submitted its recommendation for redevelopment of the site, which seeks to accomplish two major purposes: to build a mixed-use marina for both commercial and pleasure boats, and to ease traffic and pedestrian congestion downtown.
Using part of the site for parking, beyond what is required for marine users, would help relieve downtown congestion. Small shuttle buses would operate between downtown and the ferry terminal site. The boarding area for cruise ship visitors’ Acadia National Park tour buses could be moved to the former terminal site as well.
The mixed-use marina would provide income. Fishing, excursion and small rental sail boats plus water taxis between downtown and the marina are examples of commercial boats. Both residents’ and visitors’ pleasure boats would use the marina. There is also space in the plan for small boat launching from the beach.
I am skeptical that return of a ferry to Canada, no matter how low its impact, would be compatible with the recommendation from the council’s task force. The task force consulted widely with residents, current Bar Harbor marine users and various experts in transportation planning and marine construction in order to make a good decision for our town to consider.
We all need to see, and the council should require, a detailed plan from Bay Ferries for use of the entire site, one that includes both the task force’s recommendation and Bay Ferries’ minimum needs to accommodate its boat.