Bar Harbor, MDI Disposal District Seek to Amend Federal Legislation to Accommodate New Transfer Station
Trotter, Bill, Bangor Daily News (Bangor, ME)
BAR HARBOR, Maine -- The town and a municipal solid waste disposal district based on Mount Desert Island are trying to get Congress to change legislation that it adopted 26 years ago.
The legislation, part of a law that limits how much Acadia National Park can expand, includes language that requires the park to give a 50-acre parcel of land in the Town Hill section of Bar Harbor for use as a regional transfer station. Along with the parcel of land, Congress promised to contribute $350,000 or 50 percent of the construction costs toward the project, whichever is less expensive.
Nearly 30 years later, the park still owns the property, and nothing has been built on it. The town of Bar Harbor and residents of Town Hill village now are opposed to having a transfer station on the property, which is off Crooked Road. The Acadia Disposal District -- which consists of the towns of Cranberry Isles, Frenchboro, Mount Desert, Southwest Harbor, Tremont and Trenton -- is exploring other options for a transfer station while the clock runs out on a contract it has to haul its waste to Eastern Maine Recycling, a privately owned facility in Southwest Harbor.
But Bar Harbor still is interested in acquiring the property from the park, and the district still is interested in getting the promised financial assistance from the federal government for a new transfer station that it would build somewhere else. That's why the town and the district have signed a memorandum of understanding with each other to support each other's efforts to make these goals happen.
The Bar Harbor Town Council met Tuesday night in executive session to discuss the issue and then voted 6-0to approve the memorandum of understanding with the district. Councilor Christopher Walsh abstained from the vote and Councilor Paul Paradis was not present.
Tony Smith, public works director for the town of Mount Desert and chairman of the disposal district, said Thursday that the clause about the Town Hill property in the 1986 federal park boundary law was included to give MDI towns a future option for building an islandwide transfer station. Bar Harbor currently has its own transfer station, off Ledgelawn Avenue in the downtown village, and the other MDI towns have been content with using EMR in Southwest Harbor, which the district even considered purchasing at one point. For the past 26 years, there has been no urgent need to build a new transfer station on MDI, he said. …