Bristol’s harbor is an economic gem. And to protect its future, the Town of Bristol should act wisely when seeking to expand the harbor’s commercial development.
When a 2012 feasibility study was done by the students of Roger Williams University, they were remiss in considering the environmental impact a maritime center would have on Bristol Harbor.
We agree that a maritime center would be highly beneficial to the commerce in Bristol and its residents. Visiting boaters would generate thousands of dollars, which is good for everyone.
But can Bristol Harbor accommodate such growth, and at what point do we cap its expansion?
Save Bristol Harbor, a citizen-driven organization, has taken up the task of determining the environmental ramifications of any proposed change to Bristol Harbor by creating a predictability model. This wonderful effort was not done in tandem with the town’s drive to increase economic development.
It should have been.
In order for future generations to enjoy the successes of today, we should move forward in a more cohesive effort, to ensure its vitality.
The students did comment on information we already knew: That Bristol is a major New England harbor without any municipal shore-side facilities, thus limiting its attraction to boaters.
The question should not be whether to move forward with the maritime center, rather, how to move forward to make the best maritime center, not only for today’s generation, but for the future as well.
That answer can only be found if the town works with Save Bristol Harbor, and other citizen groups, to understand all aspects of development.