, Gloucester, MA

February 13, 2013

Editorial: Multiple needs at Long Beach

Gloucester Daily Times

---- — Rockport officials have long grappled with how to address the needs of a decaying seawall at Long Beach, largely because they recognized that a projected $13 million price tag to shore up the wall would be out of the town’s reach.

But officials from the town’s Department of Public Works and its Board of Commissioners certainly took the right step by meeting with and touring the site with representatives of the state’s Coastal Zone Management agency.

The assessment outlined by CZM coastal geologist Rebecca Haney should have opened the eyes of town and state officials alike – just two days before the Blizzard of 2013 delivered another reminder of the beach’s and seawall’s needs.

In essence, Haney indicated that the only viable means of protecting the houses behind the seawall is to significantly strengthen eroded portions of the beach, even while shoring up the wall itself. And Haney suggested that one solution might also be to raise the elevation of the houses to allow water to flow beneath them.

Those choices may not have been what officials and property owners wanted to hear. But they are indeed important factors to consider before the town and state move forward — and before anyone shored up the seawall and thought the job was done.