Many Barrington residents now know that a new beach house is being constructed at the town beach.
In November of last year, a consultant for the town developed a “Beach Management Plan” to discuss how the town was going to manage the beach into the future. The Conservation Commission, on which I serve, was asked to review the plan and has sent comments to the Town Council and Town Planner.
Due, I suspect, to a lack of direction from town representatives and a lack of effort on the part of the consultant (although I don’t know what their charge or budget was, so perhaps I am being unfair), the Beach Management Plan is a whole lotta nothing.
To their credit, town officials recognized its shortcomings, which is why the commission was asked to review it, and I expect that other town commissions were also asked. The draft plan is located on the Town Planner’s web page, for those interested in reviewing it (http://188.8.131.52/townplanner.php).
One thing that struck me about the Management Plan, besides the utter lack of meaningful detail, was that there did not appear to be a clear goal from the town on what the future Barrington Town Beach should or needs to be. Without knowing what you’re aiming for, it’s difficult to define how to manage it.
The management plan was heavily weighted towards maintenance and recreational activities, which is fine, but no (and I mean no) mention was given to the beach’s conservation value, nor was fishing at the beach discussed.
Knowing how contentious the beach house was, I suspect some residents may have a thing or two to say about the plan. As the plan is written, proposals include extending the beach “season”, expanding the area of beach that is monitored by the lifeguards, offering more organized activities (like swimming lessons and sporting events), extending the beach maintenance schedule, and developing an erosion control plan.
Please note that these were proposals written by the consultant; the extent to which the town has accepted them or (more importantly) financially committed to them is not known by me. These may be good goals or bad goals; I think that’s subject to interpretation.
From my perspective, I’d like to see portions of the beach not currently used for swimming left in a more or less natural condition, and whatever landscaping is done be limited to native, non-invasive coastal vegetation like beach grasses and bayberry, with no treatment by fertilizers or herbicides. And I’d rather see the beach maintenance improve rather than extend, and recreational activities take place away from the main “beaching” area.
But that’s me. What about you?
I’d like Barrington residents to take this opportunity to weigh in with their opinion on the future of the beach. I ask you all to be respectful, stay on point, and make your comments constructive. This is not an opportunity to vent. If you want to bitch about town spending, do it elsewhere. But if you have an opinion on how our beach is used and maintained into the future, I’d like to hear it. And hopefully town representatives will hear you, too.