NewburyportNews.com, Newburyport, MA

Opinion

March 12, 2013

Officials to blame for not acting sooner on Plum Island erosion problem

To the editor:

Houses and homes have fallen off their foundations on Plum Island and other homes may be demolished due to the destruction caused by recent storms and the awesome power of tide and wave. What a terrible tragedy; not only because of the loss of home, shelter and the repository of so many of life’s memories, but because government officials, including the governor, did not, could not be decisive in making appropriate decisions that may have prevented such tragedy. If appropriate decisions could not have been made to help, then, at least decisions could have been made to get out of the way and let the homeowners do what was necessary to save their homes.

Perhaps nothing that could have been done would have saved these homes from destruction. The real tragedy is that they were not given the opportunity … until it was much too late.

Plum Island is a barrier island and subject to the irresistible power of nature … I can hear the governmental conversations now … . However, fact: Homes exist on Plum Island and have been here for over a century. Fact: Citizens of the Commonwealth live in these homes (to the chagrin of some environmentalists) and have the right to protect their homes within the guidelines of the law. Plovers that nest on Plum Island are protected — and should be — despite the millions of dollars in cost. The citizens along Annapolis Way and Fordham Way were not given any money to ensure their survival and, in fact, their efforts to be proactive were impeded by government — the slow-moving bureaucracy of indecisiveness. If government could not make a decision, at least they could have opted to get out of the way! When decisions were finally made, it was too late.

Plum Island is a very special place. The Indians regarded Plum Island as a place of healing and those of us familiar with the island, who love the island, are conscious of and appreciate this elusive spiritual character.

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