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April 23, 2013

Letter: Editorial misses boat on Waterways Board

To the editor:

Once again, Times Editor Ray Lamont has written a negative, maligning editorial about the Gloucester Waterways Board, so once again, I feel the record needs to be set straight.

The editorial in Friday’s Gloucester Times made false statements about our pursuit (or lack thereof) of a program that Massport is offering for environmentally safe moorings for sensitive areas. In fact, the harbormaster has pursued this, meeting with Massport representatives and supplying them with all the required information to make Gloucester eligible for this program.

The editorial also calls the Waterways Board “an obstructive force” in the city’s efforts to expand boaters’ services flies in the face of reality. Here are the facts:

The Board has taken a significant step in making Gloucester a visitor-friendly port by establishing a launch service. A new, first-rate, 24-passenger launch will be delivered next week. This season, visitors will be able to pick up one of our transient moorings or drop anchor in the superb anchorage located between East Gloucester and downtown and be ferried to downtown, Rocky Neck, or East Gloucester to shop, dine or visit one of our many art galleries and museums.

The board is also in negotiations with the landlord of the harbormaster’s office, National Grid, to expand into the entire building so we can install restrooms and showers for visiting boaters. This is something all good ports offer visitors.

The plan for the city dock at Solomon Jacobs public landing will expand the amount of short-term visitor tie-up and dinghy dock space.

Despite rumors to the contrary, the board is actively pursuing an affordable and practical solution to provide dockage for visiting boats in the harbor — whether an island-type moored facility such as the floating marina or, preferably, one attached to land, either city owned or in partnership with a private owner.

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