2018-07-20 / Letters

Councilor wants message to be clear

To the editor:

I wish to clarify what I said at the June 29 South Portland City Council workshop regarding the Portland Street Pier.

When it was my turn to offer guidance to city staff, I said, “I’m not yet at a point where I’m ready to give a thumbs up to any of those four options. I would like to see an option five that brings the existing facility up to a state of good repair without necessarily expanding it or adding extra features to it. I need to know what the dredging is going to cost and how that’s going to work before I can say that I’m in support of anything. I need that little bit of more information.”

The audio feed of the council meeting was quieter than usual that night. Viewers who were watching the meeting as it was happening, without the benefit of being able to pause and replay the video, might not have heard all of what I said. I watched the video online a few days later, and some of my remarks were difficult to hear.

The main point I wish to convey to your readers is that I was not stumping for, or endorsing, “option five.” What I meant was that I would like to see that option on paper – along with detailed costs for the associated dredging – so I may compare it to the other four options, and then make a fully informed decision based on all the facts.

There could be additional options we haven’t explored yet, such as selling the pier. Perhaps a private owner/ operator could improve the pier, enhancing the city’s economy but without city taxpayers bearing the financial burden. I believe we should investigate all possible options – particularly those which reduce or eliminate costs to the taxpayers – before making a final decision.

Last but not least, I want your readers to know that I come from a family of Downeast fishermen and boat builders. Even though I represent the westernmost district of South Portland, the waterfront is of great importance to me and I will always give waterfront issues the careful thought and analysis they deserve.

Adrian T. Dowling City councilor, District 5 South Portland

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