2016-12-16 / Community

Cape harbors committee: No fishermen?

By Wm. Duke Harrington
Staff Writer

CAPE ELIZABETH — At its most recent meeting, the Cape Elizabeth Town Council unanimously approved a slate of 27 appointees (including some reappointments) to various volunteer groups, drawing in the process some criticism over its picks for an ad hoc harbors committee.

The council created the new committee in October, charging it with reviewing and updating the town’s Coastal Waters and Harbors Ordinance. Those rules were created in 1989 and last amended more than a decade ago, in 2005. The five-person committee also is expected to inventory all public water access points, create new maps used by the town harbormaster to pinpoint potential mooring locations, and develop a long-term plan for boat access to Kettle Cove and Crescent Beach State Park.

The committee is to include two town councilors and three citizen representatives. In November, the council chose Caitlin Jordan and Katharine Ray to fill its slots. It also appropriated $15,000 from the town’s undesignated surplus fund to hire a technical consultant experienced in shoreland issues, as well as some form of clerical support, to aid the committee.

On Dec. 5, the council’s three-person appointments subcommittee sat for three hours interviewing applicants to all volunteer boards and committees. Chairman Patrician Grennon did not say Monday how many people applied for the three harbors openings, but did offer that 31 people submitted resumes for 16 available positions, overall.

“Unfortunately, we can’t appoint everybody,” she said. “If we could, we would.”

Getting the appointment subcommittee nomination for the harbors group were management consultant James Casey, owner of Casey Communications, Stephen Culver, owner of Two Lights Group, which specializes in advising food and beverage industry start-ups, and Susan Farady, an assistant professor of ocean studies and marine affairs at the University of New England in Biddeford.

That grouping brought commentary from one member of the audience at the Dec. 12 council meeting. Commercial fisherman Edward Perry rose to say he and his peers were “very concerned” about the harbor committee appointments.

“We were very disappointed to hear that although three people involved with the fishing community applied, none of them were chosen,” Perry said. “All that we are hoping for is that, because this is a very important commission to us, that the people who are chosen give us a chance to have some input on any decisions that are going to involve us, the harbor, harbor access, and so on.

“We certainly realize there are other factions who use the harbor and share it with us, and we hope we will all be able to make some input into any decisions,” Perry said.

Grennon said the appointments committee looked for a balance of people to serve. Culver, she said, “does some commercial fishing,” and is also a member of the town’s wet team, a group of 20 people who provide surface water rescue services.

“The point (made by Perry) is well taken, but we thought we had struck the right balance,” Grennon said, adding that Councilor Jordan, as part-owner of Alewive’s Brook Farm, a family operation that retails lobster caught by her father and brother, is intimately aware of commercial fishing issues.

“There will be a good opportunity and, I think, intent, to reach out to the fishing community,” Grennon said.

Council Chairman Jamie Garvin echoed Grennon’s comments, adding that, “if you look across all of the appointments, you’ll find people who represent the entire community, and not just parts of it, which I think was the goal.”

Garvin also said all committee work would be open to the public.

“Your participation and engagement is highly encouraged,” he said. “Even if you are not selected to be on a committee, that does not stop you from being engaged in the work that they are doing.”

A first meeting date for the harbors committee has not yet been set, but should be announced on the town website, capeelizabeth.com.

Also appointed starting Jan. 1, with terms of office running to Dec. 31, 2019 – except the harbor committee slots, which expire Dec. 31, 2017 – were the following:

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