To the Editor:
On Tuesday, June 12, we, the voters of Bar Harbor, will be asked to vote “yes” or “no” on article 6: whether or not to approve the general obligation bond issue that funds the purchase by the town of the old ferry terminal property.
It is our last chance to regain control of the only remaining public shorefront property in Bar Harbor suitable for a wide range of public uses.
The purchase price has been discounted to $3.5 million by the current owner, the Maine Department of Transportation. The amortized repayment of interest and principal over 20 years is affordable within the town’s budget.
A “no” vote will preclude any voter control over usage of the property. If we don’t buy it, the DOT apparently plans to sell it on the open market at market rates (approximately $6-7 million or more) with no restrictions on usage other than the current zoning.
If purchased by a global cruise line consortium, a mega berthing pier for mega cruise ships could be built.
The only restriction available at that point would be the town’s daily passenger cap, limiting the number of passengers who can disembark that day. The cap is set and changed by the Town Council without public hearing or citizen vote.
A “yes” vote will authorize the Town Council to provide for the purchase of the ferry terminal property.
It is our last chance to preserve public control of and access to the property, to preserve a working waterfront and to protect the town, the bay and Acadia National Park from externally controlled development and pollution.
We would be able to take our time to plan for the development of the property in a thoughtful, appropriate and responsible way for ourselves and for future generations.
Don’t let this opportunity slip from our hands: vote “yes” on article 6.
Abigail H. Conrad