Wednesday, 11 July 2018 18:21

Cat ferry operators to submit plan to return to Bar Harbor Featured

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BAR HARBOR - Town residents just voted to buy the old ferry terminal and now the operator of The Cat -- a ferry to Nova Scotia -- is poised to submit a plan to use it.

But will it match the wants of the town is a question some residents and town leaders are askiing.

Bay Ferries Ltd. ran The Cat, a high-speed catamaran ferry, between Bar Harbor and Nova Scotia for a dozen years and ending its run in 2009.

Since then, the terminal has sat vacant and town residents, just last month, voted to get a bond to purchase the land on Route 3. Now, Bay Ferries says it's interested in returning.

"We haven't seen their business plan at this point," said Joe Minutolo, a Bar Harbor selectman and owner of . "We know there is interest in the site for them. But we don't really know the numbers or all the particulars or anything like that so at this point it's fiction, but we'll see where it goes from here."

Currently, Bay Ferries operates The Cat out of Portland. They reportedly want a 5-year lease and plan to spend $3.5 million on improvements to the ferry terminal in Bar Harbor.

"It's a huge investment and I think we want to do, as a councilor I know myself I want to do the best thing for my town," Minutolo said. "And I want to do what the people want. And, if it fits maybe. If it doesn't fit there are lots of things that will fix down there."

One resident who owns the West Street Cafe said he voted last month in support of the town buying the old ferry terminal for $3.5 million from the Maine Department of Transportation.

"As far as what happens out there, it's a great unknown right now, at the moment," said Kevin DesVeaux, the cafe owner. "There is a lot of different people with a lot of different ideas. This is a difficult community to get on any one single idea. I like the idea of the Bay Ferries coming back. They had a strong presence here before and I thought they were very good for the community."

"It's great to have maritime activity down at the ferry terminal," he added later. "And I like the idea of connecting with Canada again."

The town council is scheduled to review the ferry operator's proposal at their next meeting, on Tuesday July 17.

"We've got to take our time," Minutolo said. "And that's really what is going to make this site be what we want it to be. We need to vette this. We need to listen to our town before we make any decisions at this point. This is not going to be a quick decision."

Nit-Noi Ricker

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Nit-Noi Ricker is an Army brat who grew up on a farm in Winterport. She went to the University of Maine and the University of Northern Texas to learn how to be a journalist and started her career in Arizona at the Williams-Grand Canyon News, ...