Mattapoisett takes on new planning for waterfront

Nov 13, 2018

MATTAPOISETT — At the request of the  Board of Selectman, the Marine Advisory Board and the Harbormaster are in the process of evaluating the organization of the Harbormaster’s department to develop a short and long-term capital plan.

“We have an opportunity to do that now because we just finished paying a long-term debt on the wood pier down there,” Paul Silva said, at the Nov. 13 Board of Selectmen meeting where the topic arose. “And before somebody [brings] up the idea that we should spend that money, look at the future, think it all out, look at all aspects, do some type of ten year planning on it.”

The board requested the Marine Advisory Board work with the Harbormaster, informally known as the Waterways Department, to look at current organization of the department, and come up with short and long-term capital plans.

Once drafted, the plans will be approved by the Finance Committee, the Capital Planning Committee and then come before the Board of Selectmen.

“We’re going to look at the Waterways department, we’re going to look at the tasks they perform and we’re going to look at what other agencies do within the town,” Town Administrator Michael Gagne explained.

He stated that other coastal towns assign different responsibilities to the Harbormaster. “There are towns that have the Harbormaster taking a more active role in aquaculture review and enforcement.”

Gagne added, “They have also done some involvement with shellfish programs. We have a very strong residential shellfish program in town.” 

“To be clear and transparent,” Chairman Jordan Collyer added, “there was a time when all shellfish operations were with the Harbormaster’s office, some number of years ago.

The review may determine that the existing structure of the departments is the best configuration.  need “But we need to go through the exercise,” Gagne said. 

He gave the other board members an update on the progress.

“I have had discussions with the harbormaster. She thinks it’s a good approach. And the Marine Advisory Board is working hard,” Gagne said.