2006-04-20 / News

No-discharge law will not be repealed

Harbor panel has busy agenda as boating season nears
By Sam Bari

"The General Assembly has embraced the idea. Unless they change their mind for some reason, the no-discharge law will be in effect as of June 1," said Harbor Management Commission Chairman Mike de Angeli at the panel's April 12 meeting.

He also noted that the ordinance will probably be amended to separate the issuing of mooring permits from the requirement for a no-discharge decal.

In other harbor business, the commissioners:

+ Voted 5-0 to approve the $138,000 budget for the upcoming fiscal year.

Commissioner Chris Brown, chairman of the budget committee presented the spending plan line by line.

In a letter to the commission, Brown noted that Police Chief Thomas Tighe volunteered to work on the 2006-07 Marine Development Fund budget for the committee to approve. The 200506 development budget was reviewed with respect to the longrange plans for the town and harbor infrastructure. The review included the history of major projects completed, now in progress, and for the future to help transition the budget from Chairman Archibalds's tenure to the next chairman's.

+ Learned from Harbormaster Sam Paterson that any boater using substandard mooring equipment will be denied a permit. The commissioners supported his commitment to enforcement. Paterson also mentioned that accepting anything less presented a danger to every boat in the mooring field.

Paterson then raised the issue of the harbormaster's boat. He noted that he and his assistant are using the old and inadequate Easton until other arrangements are made or a new boat is purchased. He said that the Easton is difficult to maneuver and has caused both him and his assistant physical pain and constant discomfort. The last inflatable boat was vandalized beyond repair and is yet to be replaced.

Paterson suggested that the new boat specs should be for a 24foot inflatable vessel with a hardbottom aluminum hull and a wheelhouse for protection in bad weather. An adequate engine should also be a major consideration to give them the power needed to patrol both sides of the island and arrive anywhere that an emergency arises in a timely manor, Patterson noted.

He suggested that the $44,000 allotted for the purchase of a new boat was probably inadequate to meet the requested specifications. When de Angeli asked how much a boat like the one he described would cost, Paterson replied anywhere from $55,000 to $75,000.

The commission discussed at length how best to resolve the matter and counted all available funds, including money collected from insurance for the vandalized boat. They also considered alternative vehicles like the available police boat.

However, Paterson said he did not believe that the boat police boat had the right configuration for the job. The commission decided to put the matter on the next agenda and send the specs out for bid so a boat can be purchased as early in the season as possible.

+ Heard from Conanicut Marine Services owner Bill Munger that the East Ferry pumpout station was in dire need of repair, noting that minimally the pedestal and switch needed to be replaced.

Commissioner Bob Bowen said that $3,750 in state grant money was available for a new pedestal to be installed at the touch and go dock, which would give boaters two stations where they could pump out their holding tanks. Since the total cost for repairs and equipment was under $5,000, the commission could approve the expenditure without sending it out to bid.

De Angeli suggested that Munger's company oversee the job and hire the appropriate people to do the necessary work. Munger said that parts and equipment from Edson International were best for the job, and that he could handle the work needed on both the East Ferry and Dutch Harbor pump-outs stations.

In other business, Bowen said that the town-owned property in the beach area south of East Ferry was rocky and not useful for dinghies. He also mentioned that access from the land side was difficult. He recommended that stickers not be mandatory for this area.

Harbor Clerk Paula Swistak reported that all mooring applications and permits had been mailed.

In a letter to the commission, Barbara S. Paterson of Dutch Harbor Boat Yard asked to come to this meeting to discuss several issues, all of which were put on the agenda. The commissioners listened to her concerns and addressed each matter in detail.

Paterson asked if the outhall and in-the-water dinghy dock fees were going to be increased.

De Angeli noted that the commission had voted at its last meeting to keep the fees consistent with the previous year. She also asked about where the dinghies from boats at new moorings were going to dock.

Harbormaster Paterson said there were adequate facilities at Fort Getty and Maple Avenue, although the dinghies would have to be beached, not docked. Her request for an improved pumpout system at Dutch Harbor was addressed later in the meeting. The matter will be satisfied with funds from a state grant.

Paterson also said that the bulkhead and sea wall at the town-owned facility was washing away. Town Council Liaison Julio DiGiando said that the public works department would be notified and Bowen said that he would present the matter to the commission's Facilities Committee.

Return to top