Bar Harbor town council is looking into the challenges and opportunities of restructuring the property in order to better service a growing cruise ship industry. Marine Atlantic has expressed an interest in selling the property.
Town council chair Ruth Eveland says the potential redevelopment of the terminal would “absolutely” include the ability to host a ferry service.
“That is an absolutely critical element of this,” she said.
At present, passengers from larger cruise ships are tendered from ship to shore in Bar Harbor.
The first phase of the Bermello Ajamil study suggests that building a 1,500-foot-long pier that could accommodate one or two large cruise ships could make it economically viable to continue using the property as a public marine terminal.
“There are a lot of larger cruise ships that are sailing on by Bar Harbor,” said Eveland.
“You reach a certain point where it just takes everyone so long to get off and on that they don’t have very much time to visit.”
The town’s cruise ship business has increased steadily over the past couple of decades. Bar Harbor had 106 cruise ship visits last year and 107 in 2010. In 1990, it had only 22 visits.
The second phase of the study will look at specific recommendations for how to renovate the terminal property and how to fund its future operations, including maintaining ferry port status.
It is certainly our hope that a ferry will return,” said Eveland.