GloucesterTimes.com, Gloucester, MA

April 23, 2013

Letter: Editorial misses boat on Waterways Board


Gloucester Daily Times

---- — 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.

Also, the Waterways Board does not control I-4 C-2; the city has total control of that parcel of land. The Waterways Board manages the commercial marina on the waterside and has worked cooperatively with the Administration to promote the use of this parcel.

The original RFP to potential developers includes a positive letter stating the board’s willingness to expand the dock system to accommodate any future developer’s needs. This is again a fact that was readily available to the editor if he actually wanted the truth.

The paper’s ongoing delivery of baseless negativity will in itself promote and perpetuate a bad image of Gloucester with boaters. It is our sincere hope that in the future, Mr. Lamont will check his facts before basing another editorial on perceptions and assumptions.

Our city deserves better from its primary source of news.

TONY GROSS

Gloucester Chairman, Gloucester Waterways Board