A vote of 7 – 4 by the Casco Bay Island Transit, delayed a vote on the new 599 seat ferry for 60 days in order to gather more information on the impact it would have on Peaks Island in the future – it was a motion of marine attorney Twain Braden that turned the stalemate into a hiatus between the warring parties. Hank Berg, general manager, stated that the design of the ferry, will continue despite the delay. It is 20% complete Berg said. Eliot Bay Design Group, Seattle, is the designer. City manager Jon Jennings sent a message that he understood “there are congestion issues on the Island that need to be addressed first.” But will he keep his promise?
At least fifteen or more people testified in opposition to a vote today, saying that much more data was required before a decision could be made. John Carroll, spokesman for CMP and former Portland planning board member asked for a delay because the data is incomplete. “This needs a “strong operational analysis.” “We have a problem, so let’s not use a hammer to solve it,” said Steve Anderson, a member of the PIC. Senior architect Stephen Demos, of the Institute for Human Centered Design, Boston, had questions, including did CBL go through a process to involve islanders and stakeholders and did CBL take advantage of the chance to look at other options.
“We are the friendliest island in Casco Bay. We cater to day trippers and fun seekers. Every summer we get overwhelmed and our quiet, prosaic way of life is trampled. We need to find a balance.” said a Peaks resident who preferred to remain anonymous.
Another resident said: “Coordinate closely with wedding venues on the island and develop a reservation system so that the Bay Mist becomes the preferential wedding boat. Some of this is already happening, but expand it, and make it the default boat for transportation for weddings to and from Peaks. An electronic board over the ticket windows could easily direct wedding passengers to the Bay Mist gate and relieve congestion.” Peaks is a wedding destination with seven venues now promoting them.
“I was a little surprised at the vote, but I think everyone wants to take a little time to reflect on what they heard from the public and staff before taking up any vote on the capacity of the new ferry,” said Hank Berg, general manager of Casco Bay Lines.
“Sixty days is not enough time to learn what we need to learn,” said Lisa Penalver. “It’s just not enough time” following the three hour meeting at the CBL conference room. (See top photo of Lisa).
note: Twain Braden, Esq., is the attorney for the Portland Pilots who, along with the Board of Harbor Commissioners, lost a lawsuit initiated by “The Cat”, a/k/a Bay Ferries, Ltd. City attorney Jenn Thompson, Esq. represented the Board of Harbor Commissioners. The Board ok’d a 70% fee increase on The Cat with no notice to them that the increase was on the Board’s agenda so they could be represented at the meeting. See previous posts on the matter herein only. The most recent was posted on March 26, 2019.