Letter to Editor: Committee weighs in



Perhaps this letter is best begun with an apology for not attending either last

Tuesday’s (May 21) Town Council Meeting or Wednesday’s community discussion at the Jesup Memorial Library wherein Citizens’ Initiatives Articles 4 and 5 on the upcoming June 11 ballot, were considered. Please let this letter constitute my input regarding these two initiatives.

It may be of interest for citizens to know that the (expanded) Harbor Committee discussed each of these initiatives at its most recent meeting on May 13. The Harbor Committee is the body most directly associated (and charged) with putting together a plan regarding the future of the ferry terminal property. That is a far cry from asserting that the Harbor Committee will direct the future of the Ferry Terminal property; ultimately, only the citizens will do that.

It does, however, facilitate the work of this or any appointed or elected town committee, to at least permit them to arrive at the plan which they present for public approval/disapproval before circumscribing their options.

By agreement, the Harbor Committee declined to weigh in on Article 4, deeming it to be not within our immediate purview. Our vote (symbolic only, having no official weight) on Article 5 was 9-0 against adoption. Unanimous.

Perhaps that vote reflects the committee’s desire to keep open our options regarding a pier of whatever suitable length may be appropriate to meet the needs of whatever plan we arrive at for citizen consideration at the ferry terminal property, or it may reflect our concern with other piers, existing and proposed, about which we may relevantly be interested.

It is my personal observation and it may be of interest to note that very practical considerations of the limitations of available shore power, and the very unlikely increase in that power capacity to the extent that would enable large cruise ships to be able to “power down” (and thus curtail exhaust emissions) when moored at a pier of a length sufficient for them, almost certainly precludes any large pier construction and attendant cruise ship docking.

That observation, by the way, did not originate with me, and I would gladly give credit where it is due if I could only recall who initially offered it, but it certainly does introduce a huge financial impediment to any “mega-dock” construction. Hugely sufficient, one thinks, to render Article 5 nearly meaningless.

If then, there are very real and practical obstacles which weigh against large pier construction, it would seem to make little sense to pass an initiative which may create unnecessary stumbling blocks to both the citizens’ and Harbor Committee’s pursuit of what might work in a plan for the ferry terminal property.

Robert Garland

Bar Harbor

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