A plastic shield? Really?

Thu, 06/07/2018 - 8:00pm

Looks like we’re stuck with a mitigation plan for the exposed part of National Grid’s sea2shore cable that no one really cares for.

This summer the island will be blessed with a field comprising a dozen buoys designating the area where the exposed cable lies about 200 feet offshore at Fred Benson Town Beach. As resident Doug Michel pointed out at a recent Town Council meeting, one wonders how jet skis and smaller boats will be prevented from passing through the “no-anchor zone.” But, as the name implies, it’s a no-anchor zone, not a “no sail or jet ski zone.” “Looks like we’re getting the short end of the stick,” he said.

Later, in the fall, a crew will install what has been described as a plastic shield over the cable, certainly an ironic use of a material the island is trying to eliminate. 

This is by no means a catastrophe, but Block Island wants to have a good, safe summer. The year has had trouble getting off the ground, weather-wise, and we know that the Chamber of Commerce and the Tourism Council are keeping an eye on our numbers — in the form of the various taxes collected throughout the tourist season — given an unexpected dip last year. An unattractive field of buoys located just off the beach doesn’t do much to improve matters. 

The town is looking at how it can negotiate easement fees with National Grid to ease the impact, which is the right thing to do, and which we hope is resolved in a way that helps the island. Then let’s hope that National Grid can find a way to relocate the cable so this does not become an annual discussion.