To the Editor:
As a Bar Harbor resident who was born here and has lived here most of my life, I have developed deep roots and friendships that have given me a sense of place and belonging.
My family were fishermen, small local business owners, and my father was even once the harbormaster. There was a time that you could walk the streets in the summertime and actually know people who lived here year-round. One could do just about all of their shopping locally because not every store in town catered to the tourism industry. Our elders were cared for in two local nursing homes that you could count on when they needed a place for the end of their days.
I give you this background at a time that our town has division about the right course to take to either preserve our local culture or to continue the course of allowing large corporations and industries to change our landscape for the foreseeable future. Having a national park at our doorsteps is both a privilege and a challenge. It gives us opportunity to be stewards or to take advantage and profit from its proximity.
As citizens of Bar Harbor, we are well aware that the current issue at hand is the regulation of cruise ship visitation.
A large number of us returned the survey regarding our wishes to regulate an industry that has grown exponentially since they returned to Frenchman Bay in the last two decades. The Town Council has tried to advocate for our voices, but it seems that they have met challenges. I applaud council members Jill Goldthwait, Joe Minutolo and Gary Friedmann for speaking to the real issues of our community and not caving in to those threats of lawsuits.
I do believe that we may need a citizen petition to speak even louder and perhaps be heard. There are so many implications to the preservation of place if we don’t act now.