Letter to the editor: The price of a visit

Posted:  Sunday, March 4, 2018 - 10:00am

Wow, mega cruise ships are a growing industry and they have discovered Rockland. Lucky us. We could cash in on our popularity.

But, there are rumblings that say over time mega cruise ships transform commercial neighborhoods into seasonal ghost towns and reduce shops to selling trinkets. That would be a big price to pay.

I have been told to go look at Bar Harbor. What does it mean to be a thriving City?  Tourism? Quality of life? Culture? Jobs?  All of the above?  Can Rockland be in control of what it wants? Who decides?

Any number of mega cruise ships could visit our waters. Coming ashore is another issue. Rockland can decide what to charge the mega cruise industry to let their passengers use our docks, public restrooms, parking lots, sidewalks, parks and other city infrastructure our taxes support.

Some cruise ship passengers spend money in our city and we can study how much, where and if it is from mega or small cruise lines. One mega cruise ship can carry approximately 3,000 to 6,000 passengers. I believe currently the city charges the cruise lines under $10 per passenger to come ashore.  

What would charging a lot more do? Would they not come?

I heard that one city in the south with a population of about 8,000 people charges $45 per passenger and the mega cruise industry pays it.

What if Rockland cared so much for its taxpayers’ burdens that it began charging the mega cruise ships $1000 per head? Is this a radical idea or a practical idea?  One mega cruise ship carrying 5,000 passengers would add $5,000,000 to the city.

I hear that nine mega ships are planned to dock in Rockland in 2018. Nine mega cruise ships times $5,000,000 is $45,000,000.

Is $1,000 per passenger being greedy?  

How deep is the pocket of the mega cruise ship industry?

Does Rockland deserve to have a mega cruise industry pay for our city to put out the welcome mat of safe piers, sidewalks, attractive parks, enough clean restrooms, and other infrastructure the many thousands of ship passengers will need?

What if we gave discounts to cruise lines that carried less than 500 passengers? How sad would we be if the mega cruise ships skipped Rockland and we kept our small city, big village feel?

 Connie Hayes lives in Rockland