Target: Paul LePage, Governor of Maine
Goal: Support island community in creating independent port authority to control tourism near Acadia National Park.
The town of Bar Harbor, Maine decided to purchase a vacant ferry terminal to better handle tourism throughout the Acadia region, in a 1,380-213 vote. This was a preventative measure against the development of a commercial pier where cruise ships could tie up instead of staying anchored in the harbor. Originally, Maine’s Department of Transportation wanted to put the 4.5-acre property on the market to attract investors. Although tourism generates millions of dollars, townspeople say it has become unsustainable both for people and the environment. Foot traffic has risen 257 percent since 2003, and over 230,000 passengers are expected to come ashore in 2018. Such a high number of tourists causes congestion, contamination to the local environment and an overall lower quality of life.
Previously, the Maine governor vetoed this measure, calling it “unnecessary municipal bureaucracy.” In reality, this initiative will not only help the environment, but provide more local autonomy. Moreover, it will allegedly prevent the accumulation of municipal debt if the abandoned ferry terminal were to become part of the private sector. Coastal communities like Bar Harbor shouldn’t be forced to compromise their wellbeing for economic reward. Based on Governor LePage’s track record for disrespecting democratic values, he must be reminded that his constituents have spoken. Sign the petition to pressure him to respect the people’s voice and not pursue any type of legislative intervention.
Dear Governor LePage,
On June 12, 2018, residents of Bar Harbor on Mount Desert Island overwhelmingly voted to purchase an empty ferry terminal from Maine’s Department of Transportation for $3.5 million. As you are well aware, this was a means to prevent the suspected development of a quarter-mile-long commercial pier where massive cruise ships could tie up instead of anchoring in the harbor and transporting passengers to land on separate ferries. Over the years, this form of tourism has become a contentious issue for locals living near Acadia National Park. Despite the economic rewards that tourism allegedly brings to the island, large sea vessels overwhelm communities with hordes of short-term visitors and contamination of local waters.
Now it is expected that an independently owned port authority will yield positive results for working-class islanders. According to reports, there will be a pubic marina for cruise ships to use, but at the community’s own discretion. Expect limitations to be put in place. This way, the downtown waterfront of Bar Harbor won’t be burdened by such heavy foot traffic, 17-story high cruise ships obstructing the scenery, or polluted waters. For once in your tenure as Maine’s governor, don’t undermine the people’s voice or try to intimidate your political opponents. Admit defeat and allow this measure to follow through uninhibited.
[Your Name Here]
Photo credit: Tony Hisgett