The Palm Beach Civic Association and the Citizens’ Association of Palm Beach have pooled talents and resources to form a joint committee to monitor town efforts to protect our shoreline.
The formation of the new committee was announced to the Town Council on Dec. 10 by Citizens Association Chairman Lew Crampton and Gary Lickle, the former chairman of the town’s Shore Protection Board and a Civic Association director.
“We are an advocacy group and our mission is to educate, inform and mobilize public support for the best available yet practical solutions to protect our town’s beachfront shoreline,” Mr. Crampton said.
Public participation will be critical this winter as the Town Council finalizes its coastal protection plan for the next 10 years. The scope of shoreline protection and who pays for it are the looming questions ahead, Mr. Lickle told the council. Preliminary cost estimates range from $65 million to $100 million.
“More than likely, additional funding will be necessary, which leads to the question of whether a tax increase will be required to pay for critical shoreline protection,” Mr. Lickle said. The joint committee will provide fact-based information to help residents reach a consensus to answer those questions.
“We want to be helpful as a combined group to educate our citizens about the realities of what can be accomplished versus what is merely wishful or hopeful in order to bring us together as a town toward a common solution,” Mr. Crampton said.
The Town Council hired an engineering consultant, the Woods Hole Group, last May to evaluate a 10-year plan recommended by the town’s Coastal Protection Board. The consultant received public comments at the Dec. 10 council hearing and will issue its final report in late January. The council will finalize the coastal protection plan in February or March.
Mr. Crampton said the joint committee will strive for a long-range plan that “budgets sufficient resources to do the work without derailing the town’s finances and overburdening our taxpayers.”
He said the environment must be protected and he urged a coastal protection plan that is fair to all Palm Beach residents. “We are one town,” Mr. Crampton said in explaining why the two organizations will work together as a joint committee. “The distribution of resources to support protective measures up and down our shoreline must be effective, fair and balanced,” he said.