Boat races, parking fees aired

TREMONT — The annual Bass Harbor Days celebration and parking issues near the town’s waterfront dominated the discussion last week during a joint meeting of selectmen, the harbor committee and the recreation board.

Last month, Wayne Rich, one of the organizers of Bass Harbor Days, approached selectmen about having the town take over the two-day event, which features lobster boat races, fireworks, a car show and the blessing of the fleet. The event has grown substantially over the past few years, and Rich said he was concerned about the safety of participants and the potential for liability.

Rich pointed out that the boat races, in particular, can generate revenue for the town through registration fees for racers and fees from vendors interested in selling food and other items on race day.

At the Aug. 20 joint meeting, selectmen approved a motion to have interim Town Manager Dana Reed check into the cost to the town of providing insurance for the event. The matter is to be taken up again at a selectmen’s meeting on Sept. 2.

Parking concerns

Parking, especially near the town wharf in Bernard, has been an issue for years. The development of a lot on the town-owned Closson property is expected to ease some of this congestion. Still, the problem remains.

One concern is that some of the parking lots are being used by non-residents, many of whom park long-term as they stay on outer islands, like Swans Island and Frenchboro, Reed said. Those island communities are not part of the town of Tremont.

Some of the discussion centered on charging fees for parking though permits or on a daily basis. Selectmen can adjust time limits or put other restrictions on parking, but currently do not have the authority to set parking fees, Reed said.

That could change.

Selectmen have directed Reed to draft a warrant article for a future town meeting that, if approved by voters, would allow selectmen to set fees.

Town officials also recognize the need for more parking and are making its development a priority, Reed said.

Mark Good

Mark Good

Reporter at Mount Desert Islander