To the Editor:
Bar Harbor voters need to keep their attention on the plans being hatched in Augusta to deprive them of any real control over a mega cruise ship pier. The option agreement the town “negotiated” with the MDOT to buy the ferry terminal has a primary purpose of rigging the election on June 13.
At that election, Bar Harbor voters can assert real control over any use of the ferry terminal site by voting for Article 13, the citizen initiative. Article 13 gives citizens a voice and a vote on any changes in current cruise ship visitation patterns.
The option agreement states that the MDOT will cancel the option to purchase the ferry terminal if Bar Harbor voters assert their right to control their town’s future by voting for Article 13. Gov. LePage has likely directed the MDOT to bully Bar Harbor voters into submission, to rig this election.
However, the option agreement is likely a sham. It expires on Nov. 30, by which time the Augusta politicians will have passed a Bar Harbor Port Authority bill that Bar Harbor voters can only say “yes” or “no” to this fall. That Port Authority will not, thereafter, have to go to the voters for approval of any bonds or plans for a mega pier.
The Port Authority has always been the preferred option for the cruise ship industry and certain members of the Town Council. It cuts the Bar Harbor voters out of any real control over what happens. There will never be a chance for the town to own the ferry terminal site once the Port Authority is created.
Don’t listen to the fearmongers. If Article 13 passes, the bullies in Augusta will come back to the negotiating table. Fears that a hotel owner will snap up the terminal site are groundless.
The terminal property has been vacant for years, and no one has offered to buy it. Let’s vote for Article 13 and make sure that property can become a multi-use maritime facility, not a mega cruise ship pier. George Dorr would roll over in his grave to think that a half-mile pier hosting the largest cruise ships in the world would deface his beloved island.