Saturday, January 10, 2009

Proposal for Maine Wharf

Eric Cianchette, the owner of the Maine Wharf and the Regency Hotel wants to build a luxury hotel with spa and restaurants on the pier. Following the lead of the easing of zoning restrictions for the Maine State Pier, the owners of the other piers are hoping to build more non-marine projects. Cianchette suggests that with the downturn in the fishing industry and overall economy, something needs to be done to spur development on the piers.

And while the developers all say they will preserve 'marine uses' on the piers, I don't think that will be the landing of fish. If, and hopefully when, fish stocks recover and the industry can start to rebuild, there needs to be places for the boats to bring the fish in. I doubt the 'marine uses' these developers have in mind will be noisy, smelly boats and fish docks that begin operating before sunrise.

We are already losing fisherman to New Gloucester because of the lobster catch restrictions, the development of luxury hotels on the piers will further shut the fishing industry out. The two are simply not compatible, and we need the fishing industry more than the luxury hotels. The easy way would be to just allow the development of the piers, but that would just further out dependence on tourist. But if Portland just becomes another city full of luxury hotels, why the hell would the tourists come?

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