Cranberry Isles voters will be asked at a special town meeting on Oct. 24 to authorize selectmen to negotiate with individuals or entities to appropriate or secure ferry transportation service from Northeast Harbor and Southwest Harbor to Great Cranberry Island, Little Cranberry Island, and Sutton Island, with the product of the negotiations subject to final voter approval.
Voters also will decide whether to authorize selectmen to borrow up to $40,000 to hire a consultant to help develop and implement a plan for long-term ferry service for the three islands. The town’s transportation task force has been working with consultant Charles Norris, and approval of the article will allow the town to continue using his services as well as the services of the town attorney.
The Beal & Bunker company is continuing its regular ferry run from Northeast Harbor to the Cranberries through this winter; rumors earlier in the fall suggested the service would end Nov. 1. According to First Selectman Richard Beal, if voters approve the warrants, selectmen will negotiate with Beal & Bunker about purchasing or leasing the service, and with other commercial entities that have indicated interest in providing ferry service. The idea of the town forming a nonprofit to run the ferry service is still on the table, he said.
Selectmen also recently signed a contract with Downeast Windjammer Cruises for the winter commuter boat contract, for $54,818 per winter season, with the agreement running from Oct. 15 to April 30 of next year.