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Letter: Don't curtail current beach uses

Published 10:26 am, Friday, May 23, 2014
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According to a letter from the Coalition for Westport ("CFW urges residents: Voice Views on Compo," May 16), the planning committee for the Compo Beach renovations appear to be coalescing around some general renovation projects which they assume most Westport residents (based on comments and input sent to the planning committee) can agree.

The figure of $6 million has been forecast based on a three-phase construction plan. I would hope the work to be done in three stages will not ever affect residents ability to access the beach, especially during the months of May through September.

I have not heard anyone propose the idea that a pedestrian walkway was necessary or desirable along the parking lot area of the beach. Does this mean the walkway would be across the road and not actually on the beach? If so, I vote a resounding no, and I know there are many others who feel the same way. Where can we see the draft plans? Town Hall? I find it hard to visualize what this proposed pedestrian walkway would look like, and where it would be located.

Parking on the beach should be continued. Aside from an agreeable and final plan, there are some other questions which remain. Where will the $6 million come from? Current budget? Fundraising? Taxes? (God forbid.) How much will the current maintenance budget (all agree it is woefully inadequate) have to be increased to maintain this newly beautified beach? Are annual funds available for this? When will the final plan be unveiled to the public? In order to gauge public approval, can a survey be done (use the list of names of all the residents who have applied for a beach sticker this year)?

It would be very simple to put the basics on paper and say "check one" or voice your disapproval and why. Simply tally the majority before going ahead. Or can people be asked to vote by ballot at town hall? I attended a planning committee meeting earlier in May, and had the distinct impression that the committee did not entirely welcome public input in this forum.

Is this an open forum for public debate, or is it a working meeting of the planning committee? This needs to be clarified. We know that all the participants are working hard towards a solution which will please the majority of Compo Beach users. However, the end result must not curtail the uses which we currently enjoy but rather enhance them. The parking issue, which some think is paramount, and others, like myself, feel has been overblown, needs to be approached very, very carefully.

Doris Forest

Westport