Letter: Coastal Conservancy’s Wish For The New Year

To the editor:

As our community deals with the island-wide challenges that are created by climate change and sea level rise, our wish is that we do so in a way that ensures that the needs impacting all Nantucketers are prioritized and that the preservation of our natural resources is a key objective.

These infrastructure projects (such as ferry transportation, roads, sewers, drainage, and so forth) are prioritized in the recently completed, island-wide Coastal Resilience Plan, developed over the last year by the Arcadis consulting team, working with the Coastal Resilience Advisory Committee, Town staff, and various community stakeholders.

The reality is that the public infrastructure needs were evident long before the Arcadis report. It is time to recognize that erosion cannot be stopped. (Both the Proprietors and Mr. Flagg, the developer of the Baxter-Road area, acknowledged back in the 1880s that the eroding Sankaty Bluff was moving and would continue to move.)

The unfortunate dispute related to Baxter Road has laid bare how the interests of wealth and the protection of personal property have been allowed to come first, before the needs of the island as a whole.

The Select Board is attempting to portray the geotubes as a model of private-public partnership that would serve as a demonstration pilot project for how the island can approach its needs for costly resiliency measures. However, the continued hard armoring of the public beach in Sconset is in fact an example of how private interests have taken precedence over critical infrastructure projects.

Instead of a continued effort to save private homes under the guise of protecting the Bluff, our wish for 2022 is that the Select Board would instead lead Nantucket in the efforts required to protect the infrastructure, historic downtown, and natural resources, which are the economic lifeblood of the island and which are necessary to enable Nantucketers to continue to live on the island for as long as possible.

We also wish the Select Board will respect and accept the judgments of our very dedicated and highly competent Conservation Commission.

— The Nantucket Coastal Conservancy Team

Elin Anderwald, D. Anne Atherton: President, Director, Burton (Spruce) Balkind: Director, Joyce Berruet, Peter Brace, Barbara Bund: Clerk, Director, Sunny Daily, Janie Hobson-Dupont, Susan Landmann, Susan McFarland, Catherine Nickerson, Kate Shea, Linda Spery, Liz Trillos: Director, Mary Wawro: Director, and Karen Werner: Treasurer, Director.