Letters have been delivered to Gov. Charlie Baker, Speaker of the House Robert DeLeo, and State Sen. Joe Boncore opposing a proposal to build a fish pier and a parking lot on Massachusetts Water Resources Authority (MWRA) land at Deer Island.
The letters come with over 300 signatures from a group called Concerned Citizens of Winthrop.
The 250-foot pier that was proposed back in 2015 comes under the Division of Fisheries and Wildlife, and is slated to be funded through fishing licenses. CLE Engineering was awarded a contract from the Massachusetts Division of Marine Fisheries, Office and Boating Access for a ADA-compliant, public fishing pier at Deer Island.
The pier comes with a proposed parking lot with 40 spaces to be built on MWRA land.
The proposed pier is 210 feet long by 12 feet wide with a 60-feet long by 16-feet wide T-pier at the end, extending into Deer Island Flats which is part of Greater Boston Harbor.
The proposed entrance to the pier is located along the Judge A. David Mazzone Park Trail and will extend in a perpendicular fashion from shore approximately 226 feet. The project also includes a proposed parking lot with handicapped access to the existing walking path that leads to the fishing pier. The parking area has been designed in compliance with the Massachusetts DEP Stormwater Standards.
Residents at recent Precinct 3 meetings were concerned about traffic, security around the entire 60 acre site, trash and sketchy activities in the existing parking lot.
The petition claims that the projects implementation has been shoddy and secretive.
On a day-to-day basis, Deer Island traffic and visitors negatively affect Winthrop, and especially Point Shirley residents. The following list summarizes commentary collected from concerned citizens at a neighborhood meeting on May 16, 2018.
- Residents of Yirrell beach have reported late-night bonfires near the island and occasional overnight campers;
- Speeding and sometimes loud cars take side roads with no concern for the neighborhood speed limit and noise ordinance;
- Package theft in Point Shirley is becoming common. Residents suspect that the robberies are related to Deer Island traffic;
- Why add more parking spaces when there is an MTBA bus that stops there. Increasing bus service is a smarter alternative to adding parking;
- With the state budget deficit being in the hundreds of millions of dollars, why are tax dollars being spent on nonessential projects?;
- Winthrop has a pier at the Shirley Street public lot;
- There are no onsite emergency first responders;
- Late night car racing on Tafts Avenue is a constant problem;
- A new pier could be used as the landing point for drug deliveries via watercraft;
- The MWRA has a poor litter/trash management program and this Project does not include a fix and increasing usage will only make the problem worse. Unmanaged trash- especially fish waste attract rats, seagulls, skunks and raccoons, which can result in spreading rabies through species. Next comes pest control stations, which can lead to secondary poisoning of raptors, especially Snowy Owls, which frequent the island. Comparatively, other large-scale fishing areas in the U.S.A. have fish-cleaning stations with running water, rangers checking fishing licenses, daily trash removal, and public toilets with a full maintenance staff;
- Parking will be used by dog owners. Irresponsible dog owners are a public safety problem – both from bite danger and solid-waste. There are already many dogs using the location but there is no signage about waste or control of dogs;
- Accountability: Who will fund, administer, take complaints?;
- Light pollution and human activity degrades the living habitat of animals and
- Paving open space, destroying what little remains of the grassland (one of the
most valuable and disappearing habitats in the state) are all reasons to be against this, but the fact that it has a negative impact for a town that is struggling with flooding and resilience issues seems like money poorly spent;
- In addition to ruining the pristine view of Boston, a new parking lot will bring overcrowding and stress to an already crowded area;
- Deer Island is a popular spot for people who enjoy smoking marijuana. Adding additional parking is a nice amenity for them.
- The sewer treatment plant is a critical piece of infrastructure and easily accessible target for terrorism. Opening the park from dusk to dawn will increase its vulnerability.
- Visitors are at risk because Deer Island’s EMS is located a great distance away in East Boston. More park usage increases the risk of injury through more pedestrian bicycle collusions (currently common) and what if a fisherman falls off the pier due to inebriation?