To the editor: Proposed marina expansion a private project with little or no benefit to Rockland Harbor
At a meeting Thursday night (March 1), in Rockland City Council Chambers, it was stated that city employees have acted in support of an application by Stuart Smith (Rockland Harbor Park LLC) and Bill Morong (Yachting Solutions).
This application, which was approved last summer, was for a federal grant of $1,046,760 to be used to extend Yachting Solutions' current private marina (referred to on their website as “ever expanding”) by more than 2,000 linear feet (http://www.penbaypilot.com/article/rockland-yachting-solutions-awarded-federal-boating-infrastructure-grant/88985).
This request, we were told, was based on plans for an ongoing project that would eventually include a “wave attenuating” barrier that would reach more than halfway across the inner harbor.
Today, March 3, I stood at the seawall of Rockland Harbor Park and watched the harbor respond to a much-publicised northeast storm.
While water did splash above the level of the seawall, there were no large waves, even in today's high winds.
I sail a 10-foot dinghy in the harbor and have never encountered dangerous waves inside the Army Corps of Engineers' breakwater. Any mariner of even modest experience knows when to stay off the water and how to secure a docked or moored craft in preparation for a storm.
The proposed marina expansion is a private project that offers little or no benefit to Rockland Harbor and will, in fact, obstruct the use of the harbor by long-time residents and visitors.
Those of us who have accepted the facts of climate change and its impact on sea level rise and weather patterns recognize the necessity of spending some of our precious federal dollars preparing for what may come as these unpredictable patterns shift. This necessity does not include building coastal and offshore infrastructure that benefits a handful of private yacht owners, owned by fewer than 1 percent of the world's population.* These funds would be better spent reinforcing the existing breakwater, which, even when awash as it was today, does an excellent job of protecting our harbor.
I hope you will make yourself aware of the meeting and hearing schedule for this plan and be present to learn about this project and respond to it, before the view from the landing and the access to our common harbor change irrevocably.
Shlomit Auciello lives in Rockland
*The federal application referred to the facility as being built to serve megayachts. According to Boating International, there are approximately 10,000 such boats, over 100 feet in length, worldwide.