Wednesday, 07 February 2018 07:57

Possible Bar Harbor Port Authority brings debate to the State House Featured

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AUGUSTA - Does Bar Harbor need a port authority? The answer depends on who you ask.

A move by the legislature to create the framework for a Bar Harbor Port Authority remains on hold as of Tuesday night.


Nearly two dozen people from the Bar Harbor area roamed the halls of the State House trying to convince lawmakers the port authority is at best an ill-conceived concept. Or at least something on which every voter on Mount Desert Island should have their voice heard.


Bar Harbor resident Joe Minutollo said "We really need to talk about in the town hall before we come to the state."


Last year, townspeople authorized the purchase of the former ferry terminal, and establish a tender off shore where a cruise ship could moor. Some members of the ferry terminal advisory committee believe a port authority would remove control from local hands.


"We would like to see small business being given an opportunity instead of just moving into the cruise ship industry." added Minutollo.


One local legislator believes creating the Bar Harbor Port Authority is the best way to preserve local control.


Representative Walter Kumiega, D-Deer Isle, said "I think the place for this to be decided is by the voters of bar harbor. If we kill the bill here then they never have a chance to vote yes or no."


Still there are those who fear an increased number of cruise ship passengers on the island will detract from its uniqueness.


Bar Harbor resident Katherine Whitney said "I think it's unfair for only the town of Bar Harbor to have a vote on something that is going to have such a huge impact on the bay, the communities around the bay. I think they should all have a say in this matter."


While people throughout Mount Desert Island believe they should have the right to vote on this issue, people in Bar Harbor would have the opportunity to vote yea or nay for a Bar Harbor Port Authority if this bill gets approved.