April 09, 2020
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Monday, Jan. 27, 2020: Fish farm facts, saving for retirement, Pickering Square works for the bus hub

Fish farm facts

Many times at the Belfast Planning Board hearings related to the Nordic Aquafarms proposal, the promotion of facts has been so distorted as to render them no longer factual.

The following is one example:

The volume of water in the whole of Penobscot Bay as presented by Nordic and its supporters may truly be many trillions of gallons and the discharge of effluent from the fish farm may truly be estimated to be “only” 7 million gallons daily. As stated, the volume of effluent would seem trivial in comparison to the volume of the bay. The implication is that the effluent would be quickly diluted, disbursed and harmless.

In reality, however, the effluent will not be discharged into the middle of the whole of Penobscot Bay. The discharge will be into a small shallow nook of the bay, and because the dispersion of this nitrogen-rich warm water could take at least 14 days (my understanding based on Nordic’s own presentations), in reality a constant plume of more than 100 million gallons could persistently lie near the surface and close to the shore of Northport.

The residents in this area fear for algae blooms, an adverse effect on native marine fauna and flora, and normal shifts of current and wind, as well as northeast storms that will at times bring this effluent to shore. They and others who depend upon the bay, fear this wastewater will threaten economically important marine harvesting, properties and tourism.

These concerns have not been allayed by other public statements and presentations of such “facts” to the Planning Board.

Sidney R. Block

Northport

Saving for retirement

It is a stark reality that on average, working households in Maine have just $2,500 in retirement account savings. As the current AARP volunteer state president, a Portland resident and a former small-business owner, I am very interested in changing this situation.

Our great state of Maine has more than 140,000 small businesses who could help provide a mechanism for its employees to begin to save for their own retirement. In our 2020 legislative session, a simple solution to address this growing and critical savings program will be considered. AARP strongly supports LD 594, the Maine Retirement Savings Program, sponsored by Democratic Sen. Eloise Vitelli of Arrowsic.

Under this new law, employers would be able to offer their employees a way to save for retirement through payroll deduction. Employees would be automatically enrolled in this program unless they opted out of it. However, a survey we just released showed that 98 percent of voters in Maine who are working believe it’s important to save for retirement at work.

And 84 percent of workers without access to a workplace savings program would take advantage of one if it were available. Over time, even a small contribution can make a big difference.

If you are one of the thousands of Mainers concerned about saving for retirement, please urge your legislators to support LD 594. It’s time for Maine lawmakers to give employees the opportunity to increase their savings and take control of their future.

Pat Pinto

Volunteer state president

AARP Maine

Portland

Pickering square works for the bus hub

I am a Community Connector bus driver. There has been considerable public debate over the Pickering Square bus hub location. Let me say as a driver, wherever the hub is, your bus drivers will strive to provide you proper service.

The city has over the past eight years been studying and questioning the hub location. There have been two costly professional transit studies. The 2014 Crikelair study states, “The consultants were unable to locate an available, affordable and viable alternative to continued use of Pickering Square as a downtown Community Connector transit hub.”

Currently, Pickering provides easy and efficient access for all the routes. Moving the hub would require reworking all the runs and considerable expense to the city budget. The city has been awarded $1.29 million for a new bus hub. The most recent study by Stantec states, “Pickering Square remains the most optimal spot for all routes to converge in the service area but is underutilized and underwhelming in its current form.” The hub grant will allow for better service and customer amenities.

Regarding the development of Pickering, the Stantec study states, “In Waterloo, Canada, a bus station is located at Waterloo Public Square, which is a similar size to Pickering Square. Waterloo Public Square hosts hundreds of events including concerts, pop-up markets, festivals, public art displays, ice skating (during winter months), yoga classes, and more.”

Pickering Square works, and can be even better with development.

David Lister

LaGrange

 


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