GloucesterTimes.com, Gloucester, MA

September 13, 2013

Letter: Lifting DPA no answer for waterfront, fishermen


Gloucester Daily Times

---- — To the editor:

When doing research for my undergraduate thesis in American Studies, I came across a theory that stated that, without Gloucester’s fishing industry, the Plimoth (Plymouth) Plantation could not have survived.

And without Plimoth’s spirituality and hope for a better future in the new world, Gloucester could not have survived. Hence, without the two together, we would not be here today.

Maybe it’s a little much to say that all of America is founded on these two communities, but I find it intriguing to think about. Without Gloucester and its fishermen, there would be no United States of America.

Over the past year, I have been studying for a master’s degree in peacebuilding and conflict resolution. I’ve found that even in the most trying of circumstances, between terrorists or perpetrators of genocide and their victims, there is still a high likelihood of them being able to come to some reconciliation.

However, one of the fundamental lessons taught to us is that the practitioner must be creative in attaining this reconciliation so that both party’s needs are met.

What does this have to with I-4, C-2 and Cape Pond Ice, you may ask? I believe the removal of I-4, C-2 from the Designated Port Area is not the solution but a reaction.

There is no evidence that there is a lack of business opportunities within the DPA. What we lack, instead, is the creativity to find a solution that balances both the needs of our fishermen and the needs of our city and businesses.

We need to protect what limited coastal industrial land we have. Yes, it is a challenge to find the appropriate use for I-4, C-2, but it is far from impossible.

There has not been nearly enough brainstorming and creative thinking as to what might be possible. In fact, we are extraordinary lucky to have a DPA, because it allows us access to seaport bond money otherwise unavailable. We need to apply for these types of monies.

With the city as the owner of I-4, C-2, we have the ability to make changes using the seaport bond money that few other cities have eligibility for. Additionally, the city has hired the Gulf of Maine Research Institute for a feasibility study of I-4, C-2. The Gulf of Maine Research Institute could potentially offer science and marine research based at this site. Why throw these opportunities away?

Also there are 435 towns and cities in Massachusetts that benefit from the DPA and preserving this asset. My questions are as follows: Why has the city not requested money from the Seaport Advisory Council? What do we need to do as a community to get money from the Seaport Advisory Council and other agencies?

Only a few weeks ago, I had a conversation with a visitor to Gloucester who told me why they love coming here as opposed to other seaside towns.

They said that they prefer to come here because of the working waterfront. They liked to see the fishermen at work, and they like seeing a city supporting their fishermen. I’ve heard it a million times from visitors and residents alike, that what draws people to Gloucester is what has drawn people here for centuries … the fishing.

If we accept the concept that Gloucester’s first industry is the foundation for America, then I fear what will happen if we stop investing in Gloucester’s fishing community.

By removing the DPA, we give up. All hope of a better future is lost; the fishing regulators have won. There is no reconciliation in this conflict, and it is clear that our city officials do not support those fishermen still working hard out at sea. They are still out there and we still owe it to them to stand by them.

By finding a creative solution that maintains the Designated Port Area and with continued investment in our maritime industry, we not only continue to draw visitors and residents to Gloucester’s unique heritage, but we also tell them that we as a city are investing in that heritage no matter what happens. It’s who we are, and who we have been for centuries.

Please tell our fishermen and all the businesses in the maritime industry not to lose faith. Remind them they are the backbone of this city.

Tell the fishermen that, as long as they are casting nets, lines and traps into the sea, that you will support them and continue to invest in them. Tell them this city will not remove the DPA.

CHARLEE BIANCHINI

Bianchini Road, Gloucester