EASTPORT, Maine — The City Council overwhelmingly endorsed a plan Tuesday night by Downeast Coastal Conservancy to protect 51 acres at Kendall Head for public access and recreation.
City Manager Jon Southern said the council considered the project to be “a boost to Eastport tourism and could play a key role in economic development.”
Conservancy Executive Director Tom Boutureira presented his organization’s plans for the property at a meeting a week ago. Boutureira told the council then that DCC is working with a private seller to buy the tract of land on Kendall Head, a stunningly beautiful property with 360-degree views of Passamaquoddy Bay and Eastport. He stressed that DCC was not asking Eastport for any funding but that it needed a letter of support to seek funding for the purchase from the state’s Land For Maine’s Future program.
He said hiking trails and two small parking areas would be developed, and DCC would work closely with the city on a plan for the property.
At that initial meeting, several councilors expressed their concern that DCC would not allow seaweed harvesting and the possible passage of liquefied natural gas tankers off the property.
Council Chairman Robert Peacock asked Boutureira to poll DCC trustees about their stand on LNG traffic.
Southern said that Boutureira told the council Tuesday night that because the DCC is a nonprofit agency, it does not take a stand on such issues. Southern said DCC was concerned that publicity about last week’s meeting may have given the funding source the incorrect impression that the project would stand in the way of economic development.
Boutureira was out of town and could not be reached Wednesday for comment on whether DCC will go ahead with submitting its application for funding.
In other business, the council opened five bids on three acres on County Road.
Southern said the property contains three dilapidated buildings and is has coastal erosion. Each of the bids was to contain a plan for erosion stability.
Since the issue is complicated, Southern said, a workshop was set for 6 p.m. Tuesday, March 22, to review the proposals.
“We need to review these carefully,” he said.