Letter: State Created Mess on Charlestown Breachway | Letters

Another Rhode Island state department’s negligence is causing a safety and environmental problem at Ninigret Pond in Charlestown. Like the bridge in Providence, this is another example of how one of Governor Dan McKee’s state department directors left a serious problem unattended.

This problem is the Charlestown Breachway, owned by the State of Rhode Island. The Rhode Island Department of Environmental Management maintains a paid parking lot, campground and boat launch on the east side of the Breachway Canal, which is lined with extra-heavy granite stones.

In recent years, prevailing south-westerly winds, high tides and storm surges have undermined and washed away some of the large stones, leaving a large hole in the stone wall on the west side of the canal. In light of that beach sand, erosion of the barrier beach dunes and other foreign debris makes its way into the Breachway, clogging portions of the channel, limiting recreational boat travel and negatively impacting the ecology of Ninigret Pond.

The wind, waves and erosion that created the huge hole in the western wall did not happen overnight. But while state officials stood by and did nothing to repair the wall to prevent it from polluting the Ninigret Pond, it simultaneously ordered the installation of expensive independent septic disposal systems in the critical resource area around the pond, designed to contain the pollution fuses. each costing homeowners somewhere between $25,000 and $35,000.

Now it has reached the point where the city of Charlestown has likely reached an agreement with the state that will allow the city to use grants to repair the west wall of the Breachway. If that’s true, it’s time for Governor McKee to get involved, because that’s a violation of the city’s Home Rule Charter and could lead to legal trouble. The Breachway and the land surrounding it are owned and managed by the State of Rhode Island. The taxpayers and voters of Charlestown have no financial interest in it. That will cause liability and bonding issues! Furthermore, the city, and no employee working for the city, has any experience managing or executing a project of this magnitude.

James M. Mageau


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