LOCAL VOICES, A Shiny Sheet Op-Ed.
As a community, we face many important issues, but perhaps none is more important to our town than shoreline protection. We are, after all, the Town of Palm Beach, not the town of Palm.
Now we are dealing with the most recent updated shoreline protection plan developed by our Shore Protection Committee, and the Woods Hole Group is conducting a peer review. The outcome of this review is critically important for us all, and the looming question we face is twofold:
What will be the scope and cost of our shoreline protection program, and how will it be funded?
Just this past week, our town’s two leading public participation organizations – the Palm Beach Civic Association and the Citizens’ Association of Palm Beach – pooled their resources and talents to form a joint committee to monitor the town’s efforts to protect our shoreline. Our new committee is made up of members from both organizations and will be chaired by Lew Crampton and Ned Barnes.
We are an advocacy group, and our mission is to educate, inform and mobilize the public to support the best available, yet practical, solutions to protect our town’s beachfront shoreline. Our group will be active in public discussions about all aspects of shoreline management, including financial and budget decisions affecting our beaches. Our property and our quality of life are at stake in this process.
Our group will do its work in light of the following four principles:
* Is it the truth? Is the information we have fact-based, and are the measures we select most likely to protect our property and quality of life based on a consensus of best professional judgments.
* Is it affordable? Are the solutions we support part of a long-range plan that budgets sufficient resources to do the work without derailing the town’s finances and overburdening taxpayers.
* Is our environment protected? Everything we do that affects our shoreline requires an environmental permit – and with good reason. If we move outside that framework, we are wasting resources and time, and most likely we will be deprived of cooperation from agencies that can help us succeed.
Are the decisions made fair to all concerned? We are one town. The distribution of resources to support protective measures up and down our shoreline must be effective, fair and balanced.
We intend to use all of these principles to evaluate options arising from the public dialogue about shoreline issues taking place in our town in the weeks and months to come.
We gratefully acknowledge the tremendous and valuable work that our town’s Shore Protection boards, the Town Council and town staff have done over the past 14 years since the first shore board was formed. We also recognize that shoreline protection on our barrier island is complicated and that there are no easy answers.
Our aim is to help disseminate facts and reasonable expectations so the mission of protecting our shoreline remains focused and is accomplished with as little distraction as possible. Because once we have this perspective, what then? 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. These concerns and other important shoreline issues all lie before us.
Lewis S.W. Crampton
Citizens Association of Palm Beach
Garrison duP. Lickle
Palm Beach Civic Association