News Feature

Blue Hill
Originally published in The Weekly Packet, September 26, 2013
Up, up and away: crane hoist gets a green light

The Blue Hill inner harbor wharf crane

Discussion at the recent Blue Hill selectmen's meetings have centered around whether to remove the crane at the inner harbor wharf in Blue Hill.

Photo by Faith DeAmbrose Order prints of selected PBP photos.

by Faith DeAmbrose

For the third week in a row, the crane at Blue Hill’s inner harbor has dominated discussion during the weekly selectmen’s meeting. What was referred to as “crane gate,” during the September 20 meeting by former selectman Bill Grindle, may be over for the time being, as selectmen voted 2-1 (Schatz) to install the one-ton hoist on the two-ton crane.

Chiding the board members for lack of oversight during the entire process from purchase to assembly, Grindle said it “has continued for the last two years without remedy or closure.”

Following Grindle’s remarks, Chairman John Bannister made a motion to have the crane installed, with Selectman Vaughn Leach adding that the board needed to authorize payment for the purchase as well, prompting a change in the wording before a final vote.

Calling the lingering crane decision “a piece of unfinished business” from before his election to the board, Leach said he doesn’t “agree with the size of the crane or the hoist,” believing it far exceeds what is needed on the pier, but its removal also poses its own problems, especially in terms of the money already spent to date. “It is a lose-lose for me,” he said.

Selectman Jim Schatz, who the week before made an unsuccessful bid to have the crane removed, said he would not support Bannister’s motion to install the hoist and ultimately voted against it.

In response to a question about formalizing policy and procedure for the hoist, selectmen said that will be figured out before the public is allowed to use it.