To the editor:
Dear Westport River Watershed Aliance and Town Administrator: I write as a long-time summer visitor, WRWA supporter, and proud member of a family with a rich Westport legacy. Each summer I share the “Barker Boathouse” at 58 Boathouse Row with several of my relatives as my father did before I and my grandmother did before him.
I am concerned about the “Town Beach” (Re: Beach Road offer) proposed for a slice of beach in front of the former Charlton Estate. For many reasons listed below, this is not an appropriate area for such a facility.
• The environment including bird-nesting areas and aquatic life will be unduly impacted.
• The natural buffer between ocean and built structures will be negatively impacted.
• The area in question is way too small for public use. Spill-over to private property is inevitable. How will this be policed?
• The historical significance of this stretch of Massachusetts coastline will be forever marred.
• The opportunity for crime including trespassing, vandalism, pollution and burglary is increased. Will this area be policed often?
• Parking and traffic will be a tremendous issue and will burden neighborhood roads and cause safety concerns.
• Waste management including outhouses and trash receptacles will be an issue to develop, monitor and maintain.
• Noise pollution from visitors and cars must be considered in what is now a quiet natural and residential area.
• The costs of development and upkeep for this facility, the surrounding roads, etc. will be exorbitant and ongoing.
• Are taxpaying property owners being given due consideration? These taxpayers and WRWA supporters help tremendously to conserve Westport and contribute much economically.
• Is there even a demand (market) for a beach at this location and at this size?
For these reasons and others this proposal should not be considered further. However, I am deeply disturbed, as I have been told by an attendee of a recent Board of Selectmen meeting (held 7/22/13) that such issues may not even be entertained. I strongly believe it is a violation of the public trust to not give due consideration to all ramifications of such a proposal. And I am disappointed to learn that WRWA has not seen fit to get vigorously involved with this issue.
I am hopeful that WRWA will perform its mission of promoting the environmental integrity of the watershed and its coastal environs; advocating the wise use and preservation of natural resources in the watershed for the aesthetic, recreational, and economic benefit of the citizens of the area, and educating the general public about the interrelationship of our waters, soils, plants, animals, and people.
I love Westport and feel that my family roots give me the right to question such a proposal. I will do what I can to ensure Westport is conserved thoughtfully.