Candidate Forums, Marina Plans, Road Closures, School Construction, and PFAS

A round up of Bar Harbor news so far this week


MAY 10, 2023

I’m, again, trying to keep the amount of emails to your inbox a bit lower this week. That means we’re combining things a bit. And we might not be quite as fast to get things out. Let me know if you prefer it this way, but only if you feel like it.


BAR HARBOR—The League of Women Voters-Maine held two online candidate questions and answers forums (they weren’t really debates) this week. All the council candidates attended. The questions focused on workforce and affordable housing, cruise ships and the appropriate level of visitation, tourism, and the upcoming school bond.

You can view those streams here. The Islander’s Malachy Flynn has released a story about the first debate.

On June 13 at the upstairs auditorium at the Bar Harbor Municipal Building on Cottage Street, Bar Harbor voters will choose councilors, Warrant Committee and School Board members. Voting occurs from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m.

You can request an absentee ballot in the following ways according to the Bar Harbor town website:

  • “By mail (voter may request for self only): Download the application and mail to Town Clerk’s Office, 93 Cottage Street, Bar Harbor, ME 04609
  • “By phone (voter may request for self only): call 207-288-4098.
  • “In person in the Town Clerk’s office (voter may request for self and/or immediate family members).”


This one is in person.

The Town Hill Village Improvement Society, along with the Bar Harbor Story and the Mount Desert Islander, bring you an in-person candidate debate on Wednesday, May 17.

Time: 6:30 p.m.

Location: 1328 State Highway 102 in Bar Harbor (next to the playground)

 Format: Question and answer

**If you have a question for the candidates, send them by email to with “forum” in the subject line. You can also let us know in the comments below.

Questions will also be accepted in writing before and during the event and will be moderated for clarity and discussion purposes.


Each candidate, except for Keith Goodrich, has responded to our questions, sent in any relevant social media links to their campaign, and photos so that you can recognize them around town.

Each council candidate’s profile is on a separate section on the webpage for you to peruse. That is here.


BAR HARBOR—The Bar Harbor Harbor Committee met Monday afternoon to discuss the potential ferry terminal master plan with GEI representative Travis Pryor. GEI is the firm hired to create the potential plan for the site, which is owned by the town. Part of it is currently leased to Bay Ferries, which runs the CAT.

Five members of the Harbor Committee initially attended. Six are needed for a quorum. Seven members of the public attended, including Town Council Chair Valerie Peacock, and Warrant Committee member Carol Chappell. Peacock and Chappell attended as members of the public.

“We can do what we’ve done for the last six months,” Harbormaster Christopher Wharff said as Chair Jeff Miller voiced concern over another meeting with a lack of a quorum.

The meeting began at 4:15. Member Eddie Monet arrived at 4:18.

“Six would give us a quorum. Where are you? Just get here when you can,” Miller said on the phone a bit after that while on the phone with another member, Pancho Cole. There was no quorum until Cole arrived at 4:54 p.m.

Committee member Bob Garland was unable to attend but sent in an email that he asked be read at the meeting. Garland is recovering from surgery.

GEI began working on the master plan in September 2022, Pryor said, and background data collection and initial public engagement occurred in October and November, since then they’ve been working on public engagement and concept development.

That continued Monday night as Pryor, Wharff, committee members and two members of the public gathered around the table discussing the site and possibilities.

The Harbor Committee met with Pryor in a Zoom meeting on Monday, April 17 to hear a bit about the progress in creating a master plan for the area. The beginning of this meeting covered a lot of the same ground with Pryor adding in feedback to the last meeting under stakeholder feedback in his presentation.

The Cat came into town Monday and left the same day. The lease between the town and Bay Ferries has been extended for four more years. It customarily uses the northern half of the site.

“There’s no need to have that causeway two-vehicles wide,” member Jon Carter said.

A woman in the audience complained that it was hard to find material and information about the plan, saying she’d looked on the town website. Pryor said this summer that there would be more solid things for the public to react to. Chappell wondered about the stakeholders who have been contacted and said, “I have a mooring in the harbor, I’ve heard nothing.” She hopes that the spread is broad enough and not just the important working waterfront. He said they are also looking at information that had been gathered in the past from the public and from stakeholders.

Pryor and Carter discuss plans. Carter is in the yellow t-shirt. Image: Carrie Jones.

GEI will bring a draft concept to the committee on June 2. There will be June committee presentations at town meeting, June 6, and town elections, June 13. This will be a general introduction of the project and to gather public input.


BAR HARBOR—The AOS meeting which was meant to be live-streamed on YouTube Monday night, did not stream. PFAS were meant to be included in the agenda and discussed.

According to Mike Zboray, superintendent for the AOS#91/MDIRSS, “We are transitioning tech staff and did not have someone available to help. We will be all set for June.”

Minutes will eventually be posted from the meeting and according to Zboray,   “They will have a quick update on the PFAS. It was just a reminder that they were discovered in our water last summer, and a filtration system was purchased and installed in September, which is doing well.”

PFAS are per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances, often called “forever chemicals.”

An article by Maine Public last summer states,

“‘The installation of a new water filtration system for the Mount Desert Island High School will begin Tuesday and should be finished by the end of the week,’ said Mike Zboray, the regional school system’s superintendent.

“State testing of drinking water at the Mount Desert Island High School showed PFAS levels at 85 parts per trillion. State officials will return to campus to help the school identify where the PFAS are coming from, which could include a well that provides water for the fields, Zborary said.

“‘They’re going to come and take a look at the separate well that does irrigation,’ he said. ‘There is a small marsh area at the front of the property. We thought that water should get tested as well.’”

PFAS is considered “forever chemicals.” The report on all Maine schools is here.

A March Mount Desert Islander article by Dick Broom writes,

”A big dilemma facing Mount Desert Island High School is what to do with its wastewater.

“For decades, it has been pumped into three septic ponds behind the school. But now, with the increased awareness of the proliferation of PFAS, the so-called “forever chemicals” in the environment, the Maine Department of Environmental Protection is requiring the school to change the way it disposes of its wastewater.

“That would involve pumping it into a tank where it would be treated and then into a leach field, which would have to be created. A very preliminary cost estimate for all that is $3 million.”

Broom goes on to write:

“David MacDonald and Caroline Pryor, whose home near the intersection of Eagle Lake Road and Route 198 is less than a mile from the high school.

“MacDonald told the trustees that their well has tested positive for PFAS, as did the high school’s well last year. The school has since had special PFAS filters installed on all drinking fountains.

“MacDonald and Pryor said they are concerned that the school might be the source of their well’s contamination. And they said they would like to work with the school to identify a solution.”

In a May follow-up article, Broom writes,

”One of the three wastewater lagoons at Mount Desert Island High School is leaking into the woods on its western side, and the school is considering its options for remediation.

“Principal Matt Haney said of the leak, ‘That brings about a pretty clear and present crisis that we have to deal with. We have begun the process of emptying that lagoon, filling up tank trucks one at a time with wastewater and trucking it away. Several municipalities have agreed to have us take it to their wastewater treatment facilities.’

“In an email to the Islander on Wednesday, Haney said the school was in the process of meeting with engineers, wastewater experts and general contractors to consider various options.”

The United States Environmental Protection Agency explains PFAS as

  • “PFAS are widely used, long lasting chemicals, components of which break down very slowly over time.
  • “Because of their widespread use and their persistence in the environment, many PFAS are found in the blood of people and animals all over the world and are present at low levels in a variety of food products and in the environment.
  • “PFAS are found in water, air, fish, and soil at locations across the nation and the globe.
  • “Scientific studies have shown that exposure to some PFAS in the environment may be linked to harmful health effects in humans and animals.
  • “There are thousands of PFAS chemicals, and they are found in many different consumer, commercial, and industrial products. This makes it challenging to study and assess the potential human health and environmental risks.”
per US EPA

There will be a public information meeting at the high school about the PFAS on Monday, May 15, at 7 p.m.

We’ll post about the other parts of the Monday meeting as soon as we have the minutes.


There will be a community information night about the school reconstruction need and potential bond on Friday, May 12, at 5 p.m. at the Conners Emerson library.


Lower Ledgelawn Avenue Temporary Detour – Thursday, May 11, 2023

Effective 12 noon until 8:00 P.M. on Thursday, May 11, 2023, lower Ledgelawn Avenue at the intersection of Cromwell Harbor Road will be temporarily closed for water main work. Local traffic to and from White Spruce Road and Great Meadow Drive will be temporarily detoured via Strawberry Hill Road and Shortcake Way. Water service will not be affected. Normal traffic patterns are expected to resume end of day on May 11.  Questions may be directed to the Water Division at 288-3555.

Bridge Street Temporary Closure on May 10-11, 2023

Bridge Street will be closed to through traffic on Wednesday, May 10 and Thursday, May 11 for water and sewer utility connections. The closure will be from the intersection of Cottage Street and Bridge Street and the intersection of West Street and Bridge Street. ONLY local traffic to Bridge Street properties will be allowed access during active construction work. Delays accessing Bridge Street properties may be experienced. Summer Street traffic will be detoured to Cottage Street. At the end of each work day, one-way traffic from Cottage Street to West Street will be resumed. Work is planned to start at 7:00 AM each day.  


Bar Harbor Story is a mostly self-supported publication. To receive new posts and support our work, consider becoming a free or paid subscriber. Thank you for being here and caring about our community.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s