Cruise ship controversy in Southwest Harbor

Residents in Southwest Harbor are not thrilled about a proposal to stop a cruise ship right outside of the town in September.

SOUTHWEST HARBOR, Maine (NEWS CENTER) - Residents in Southwest Harbor are not thrilled about a proposal to stop a cruise ship right outside of the town in September.

According to a member of the Harbor Committee, Pearl Sea Cruises is hoping to anchor its Pearl Mist cruise ship there. The vessel is over 300 feet long. At a Harbor Committee meeting Monday, which drew a large public turnout, the committee voted 5-0 to recommend to town selectmen to ban cruise ship activity.

Now it will be up to the Board of Selectmen to decide whether to follow that recommendation, according to a member of the Harbor Committee.

Many community members believe allowing this ship to stop in would set a precedent for more cruise ships. They ultimately think it will transform this small town on the "quiet side" of Mount Desert Island.

Officials say the plan would be to have passengers tender into a private dock in town. Those passengers would then be taken to Bar Harbor and Acadia National Park by bus.

"You can't be putting these big vehicles, these big busses trying to come through," Linda Fernandez, a lifelong resident, said, "I just feel it's going to start breaking down our streets."

Several lobstermen say cruise ships will be bad for business. They are afraid the cruise ship, which would anchor where many young lobstermen work, will destroy their traps. 

"We have a bunch of gear there and the cruise ship would just take all that gear with it," Sam Mitchell said.

The Board of Selectman are expected to further discuss this issue at a meeting this week.

 

© 2017 WCSH-TV


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