, Gloucester, MA


March 16, 2013

Letter: Council must take control over Waterways Board

To the editor:

Editor Ray Lamont’s recent editorial regarding the Waterways Board (the Times, Feb. 21) took a giant step forward by taking a community leadership role, highlighting the lack of waterfront leadership and the need to streamline the process, suggesting all roads point to the City Council.

For starters, it called for dismantling the self-governing Waterways Board. Though I’m not in favor of dismantling the board, it should absolutely be overseen by the City Council.

The waterfront faces stifling fishing quotas, memories of container ships, unfriendly infrastructure, suffocating DPA regulations and most importantly, a lack of an applauded roadmap. The present City Council is the most pragmatic council in decades. However, in order to face problems head-on, the council must be the central repository of commercial and recreational waterfront information.

The impetus of the GDT’s editorial began with the announcement three members of the Waterways Board (representing recreational boating) resigned stating their frustration — including Phil Cusumano, who realized the enforced half-hour downtown tie-up bordered on the absurd.

Example: Try informing thousands of passengers aboard a cruise ship that they’re welcome to shop, dine, relax on beaches, witness the working-waterfront, visit the memorials and walk back to the launch within a half-hour — or be fined $100?

Subsequently, knowing the Waterways Board are the knights templars of waterfront public access and the Designated Port Area, Phil Cusumano thought outside the box and without displacing one commercial vessel, proposed a transient floating marina with launch off the state pier for resident and non-resident mariners to temporarily overnight or via the launch visit downtown during the day.

Phil recently resigned knowing his proposal was going to die a slow death within the Waterways Chambers. To be fair, due in part to start-up cost. However, now we’re back to “hope you have cash” half-hour tie-ups.

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