Letter to the editor: About Yachting Solutions' radical remake of Rockland Harbor

Posted:  Monday, February 19, 2018 - 3:30pm
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It takes a lot of audacity for a private company to create an expansion plan which requires the obliteration of a public channel, the removal and relocation of perhaps 28-54 moorings, and changes the landscape of an entire harbor. On top of their audacity, this private company runs a gated pier which caters to the rich, docking mega yachts carrying helicopters. 

We are in a time of tremendous wealth inequality. I find it a sad misstep that the federal government awarded over a million of our dollars to Yachting Solutions, when we have a wonderful, thriving publicly-accessible working waterfront in need of major resources. I understand that the city of Rockland is limited in what we can do to stop Yachting Solutions’ radical remake of the harbor, but the city should not go out of its way to help Yachting Solutions turn Rockland into a mega yacht paradise.

Instead, what we should be doing is expanding financially-accessible public use of the harbor, for fishing, ethical seaweed catch, a variety of boats, swimming, etc. We should be aggressively pursuing grants so that our harbor can have the resources it needs.

Some questions: When searching the Knox County database on www.searchiqs.com, I can’t find a lease between Yachting Solutions and property owner Rockland Harbor Park, LLC. Meanwhile, there are leases for Boston Financial Data Services (now DST, but recently taken over by SS&C Technologies) and the YMCA. Exactly what is the arrangement between Yachting Solutions and Rockland Harbor Park, LLC?

(Boston Financial Data Services’ lease is up for negotiation starting Sept. 30, and the YMCA’s Sept. 30, 2024. When might Yachting Solutions’ arrangement expire?)

Why is Yachting Solutions allowed to use (and in a sense, threaten) public access of the boardwalk and ocean view as a bargaining chip, when they are just lessees? Further, this bargaining chip “offer” appears to include using city labor, and community volunteer labor to clean and garden—something that was in the works anyway. Yachting Solutions claims their plan costs the city nothing; in fact, city labor and time is not free, nor should volunteer hours be considered “free.”  

While I can’t figure out Yachting Solutions’ finances and profiteers from searching the publicly-accessible database www.searchiqs.com, from what I can tell, they recently took out multi-million dollar mortgages from a man in Florida, and even more recently via a business financing fund based in New York. What happens if the business fails and these distant mortgagees take over? 

Relatedly, Boston Financial Data Services has a first-right-of-refusal document to buy either its building, land and parking lot, or perhaps the entire 9.61 acre property it sits on (I couldn’t tell which). What is the likelihood that if Rockland Harbor Park, LLC decides to sell, SS&C (the company which bought DST in January, who, in turn, had recently bought up Boston Financial Data Services) could end up having control over this crucial part of the harbor?

Public use of the harbor walkway must not be made a bargaining chip in granting whatever Yachting Solutions (or Rockland Harbor Park, LLC) wants. Some would consider that a form of blackmail or bribery. Rather, the city needs to move quickly to secure no-strings-attached public access to the boardwalk—in perpetuity. 

Never rely on the supposed “benevolence” of private profit-driven companies. Even if you like and trust their current owners, you never know who the next may be. Rockland must not let itself be bullied about by corporations, especially not when its very harbor is at stake—what many consider their favorite thing about the city.

Becca Shaw Glaser lives in Rockland