2007-06-07 / Letters to the Editor

Concerns about NK fishing pier

It is my belief that the proposed North Kingstown fishing pier and adjacent park located at the old Jamestown bridge site will be an extravagantly costly albatross to the state and town in dollars, in adverse environmental impact, and in negative social consequences.

In this time of fiscal austerity, when the state is proposing such drastic measures as serious cuts in social programs, department cuts and state employee furloughs, do we need to finance a multi-million dollar project? If a large public fishing pier is essential there are opportunities within the state to build onto existing facilities, such as at Goddard Park in Warwick or Quonset Point/Davisville/Allen Harbor, as two examples. While the cost of building a fishing pier and park will be costly, it is the long-term maintenance, upkeep and security that are of even greater concern.

Some concerns that have been previously raised by stakeholders include, but are not limited to:

+ The incompatibility of building, maintaining and monitoring a large, busy public facility within the midst of a residential neighborhood

+ The questionable feasibility of the building site. The R.I. DEM study of February 2006 "Public Access to Shoreline Recreational Fishing in Narragansett Bay" states "The greatest constraint is the limited area suitable for development…. excluding ramps the maximum buildable area is slightly less than 1 acre…which may be overestimated due to environmental restrictions of the parcel and surrounding area…"

+ A public park, Rome Point, exists less that 1 mile to the north.

+ The proposed usage has been estimated at approximately 100 visitors daily (see report above) yet the parking cited as being available includes 42 on site, supplemented by 170 spaces at a Park and Ride off site (accessed by walking through the aforementioned neighborhoods). With 212 spaces available and two passengers per car that is the potential for 424 visitors!

+ Environmental impact would include drainage issues, sensitive freshwater wetlands and sanitary facilities. The referenced study states "The study area within North Kingstown is not serviced by municipal sewers. Due to the environmental sensitivity of the immediate surroundings, an on site septic system would either require careful design or may not be feasible at all. It may also be difficult to site restrooms at this location due to limited area within the parcel."

+ Public phones required. Security required. An attendant/ park ranger is needed.

+ Scheduled trash pick-up. Day to day maintenance. Structure maintenance

+ Fishing-related waste requires scrupulous maintenance both of the pier itself and to manage the individual fish waste. The CRMC Coastal Resources Management Program ("Red Book") state in section 300.4 that "No sewage, discharge, refuse, or waste of any kind may be discharged from the facility or any vessel using it." Daily waste removal would be necessary.

+ Designated: Alcohol and drug free area.

+ Potential nuisance of attracting children and young adults. Curfew established - hours of operation. Vandalism. Graffiti.

+ Traffic concerns include increased pressure on a two lane highway, increased accidents, and increased pressure on law enforcement.

I am also asking our state legislators to join together in representing their constituents' best interests and introduce legislation to repeal R.I. General Law 24-12-51.1. This twenty-year-old law (passed in 1987) mandates the development of the fishing pier and public park. I propose that this was a poorly advised piece of legislation and action should be taken to repeal it; thus removing any state mandate of this unmanageable project.

Dan Levy North Kingstown

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