Council should trust, listen to islanders
There was another outstanding editorial in the Jamestown Press regarding Fort Getty (Sept. 8, 2011: “Let islanders decide the future of Fort Getty.”)
Publisher Jeff McDonough called upon the Town Council to “let the islanders decide.” Of course, the most important decision that has to be decided in regard to Fort Getty is what to do about trailer camping. The answer to this question impacts all remaining questions about the future use of this park.
Having attended the Fort Getty Town Council work session on Sept. 5, it appears that three Town Council members have already decided that they want to maintain the trailer camping in some form: Bob Bowen, Mike Schnack and Bill Murphy. Ellen Winsor was the only member present who voiced her reservation about maintaining the trailer camping because of its negative environmental impact on the park, an impact that would increase if we were to “upgrade” the trailer camping.
To gauge the negative environmental impact of the trailer camping, all one has to do is look at the density of things in the trailer camping space when it is filled in May through October with RVs, house trailers, cars, wooden decks and trucks. Think about the water usage, waste treatment and electricity needs of these “temporary housing units” and their inhabitants during this period. All of these utility costs must be borne by us taxpayers. To make this situation even worse, the town must now upgrade this facility with a price tag of over $1 million to meet the growing needs of the new bigger RVs and trailers.
When the citizens of Jamestown voted in favor of a bond issue to support the addition of Godena Farm to the Conanicut Island Land Trust in 2009, they voiced their opinion about how much they value their visual environment and open space on the island. I implore the town councilors to follow the suggestion of many people at the Sept. 5 work session and let the islanders vote on the future of trailer camping at Fort Getty by having a referendum on this single question. I feel confident that if the islanders are given accurate and factual financial data on the pros and cons of trailer camping at Fort Getty, they will make the right decision.
It is time that the Town Council members listen to and trust the citizens of Jamestown.
Mary Jo Diem