The Rockland Marina Expansion: Unanswered Questions

Unanswered questions – but first a new one: Does the Rockland City Council think that all questions posed by the public have been answered, as stated by one member in the local press?

After learning about the proposed marina expansion by SHM Rockland, LLC, I submitted a letter of opinion/opposition, with questions, to the Maine Submerged Lands Program, which is handling the SHM application, and also asked for an extension of time for public comment; a copy was sent to members of the City Council.

After no questions were answered, about two weeks later I sent the Council, SHM, Harbor Master and City Manager an expression of concern, with a list of questions, and copied this to the state to be attached to my original letter. Again, no answers were forthcoming. However, this letter was read into the record at the Council’s public meeting on Oct. 13, where SHM was represented, but no questions were answered.

Soon after, I received an email from Karen Foust of Submerged Lands about the planned Nov. 5 site visit; this, appropriately, would not be a time for further public input. I went to the site visit, and no answers were given to questions that had been submitted on time.

So, for the public record, here are the questions I submitted to Submerged Lands/City Council – acknowledging that I knew little about the process in the period 2017 to 2020.

1. Please comment on the impact on views from other places on the harbor, not just from the Harbor Master area, and especially from South End Beach. Are there any impacts?

2. Outside of the view, is there any other impact on this public beach?

3. How do you envision marina boat activity in this area? Will there be any impacts on swimming and boating?

4. What is the general record regarding boat-connected pollutants in the area of the Harbor Master? Will this apply to the South End Beach? Has this been determined?

5. Will there be an impact on the beach, even a temporary one, from the stirred-up, dredged material, which contains arsenic in levels high enough to preempt use and to require burial (in Cushing)?

6. Will there be any impact from the planned extension of the pier south from Archer’s? Do you envision direct boater access to the beach?

7. If somehow the beach is impacted, is there an equivalent alternative for the public in Rockland?

To SHM specifically:

1. Regarding the existing fixed pier, what is meant by: “Additional landward improvements to connect this pier to public paths are not included at this time” (page 13 of application)? Do you have plans; what are they?

2. Do you have plans for future expansion south along the harbor? Or plans for further use of the land you own?

3. Will plans to convert the gazebo into an indoor space involve any impact on views?

4. Is there any assurance you can give that you will not exercise your right to close the part of the existing Boardwalk that you now own?

5. Do you have drawings/promo material that graphically illustrate “the increased size and number of vessels” expected (page 16)?

6. Do you have plans to assure that “appropriate landscaping is done” (quoting a Council member, referencing cutting of trees earlier this year)?

According to “Notes from Lime City” in The Free Press (16.11), it seems that several Council members have seen SHM’s plans regarding land use.

Since meetings were held in private, and plans not published or spoken about to the public, the big question is WHY? And: Why is it so difficult to find answers?

Judy Pasqualge

Rockland