Monday, June 18, 2007

Come From Away Award

This isn't news to anyone in Maine (or even folks who read this blog semi-regularly), but the Boston Globe is reporting on our shrinking working waterfront.

In addition to reporting that the waterfront is smaller than anyone believed:
Two years ago, in response to growing concerns on the coast, state officials and researchers set out to map the waterfront access of Maine's working fishermen. What they found was more alarming than anyone expected: Along Maine's 5,300-mile coast, only 20 miles of shoreline remain open to commercial fishermen, according to the study the Island Institute released last month. (emphasis mine)

Before this survey, 25 miles was the agreed upon length of commercial access.
The article also highlights another fact of life in Maine--the from aways versus the Mainers:

More than half of all town property is now owned by part-time residents, and the arrival of outsiders has put other pressures on fishermen, the harbormaster said. One group of newcomers started an unsuccessful petition that sought to turn down the volume on an offshore fog horn. ("I said, what would you prefer, the fog horn or an oil tanker on the rocks in front of your house?" said Schmanska.) Other arrivals proposed a noise ordinance to hush the work of fishermen at dawn.

"You have an influx of people with no connection to the working waterfront, who come because they like to see the boats," said Schmanska. "Then when they hear that engine cranking up at 5 a.m., it's a nuisance."

Honestly! We see this every day, even where we live. People from away move to a quaint Maine village because they love the quaintness of it. They love the down-eastness of it. They love the views and they love to buy lobster right off the back of the boat. They love it because it's completely unique.

Then, once they are property owners, they promptly want to make changes and add services and conveniences that destroy the down-eastness and ruins the unique experience. Don't get me wrong. I miss having 27 Starbucks within 2.1 miles of my exact location every minute of the day, but every time the question to allow chains to build restaurants comes up for vote, I vote no. Because adding a Dunkin' Donuts or Burger King would effectively change everything that makes our village wonderful. And our town gets that, I think. We've voted no on this question at least three times in five years.

So, today's Come From Away Award is handed out to those who started the petition and asked for the noise ordinance, but all part-timers receive an honorable mention. It's the Way Life Should Be, not "The Way It Is In Connecticut/New York/New Jersey/Massachusetts"


the blue state blogger said...

Hey, they're all blue bad can they be????

mainelife said...

Yea, they're blue, but they're full on concrete and neon and pollution and ick :)

mainelife said...

OOOPS that should have been full OF....