McGee Upset over Beaches Commission Meeting Format

Thursday, September 12, 2013
By Cary Shuman
Pictured on a tour of Winthrop Beach prior to the Metropolitan Beaches Commission hearing Tuesday night are, from left, State Rep. Nick Collins, Councilor Nicholas DelVento, Council President Peter Gill, Speaker of the House Robert A. DeLeo, State Sen. Tom McGee, State Rep. Kathi-Anne Reinstein, and State Sen. Anthony Petruccelli.

Pictured on a tour of Winthrop Beach prior to the Metropolitan Beaches Commission hearing Tuesday night are, from left, State Rep. Nick Collins, Councilor Nicholas DelVento, Council President
Peter Gill, Speaker of the House Robert A. DeLeo, State Sen. Tom McGee, State Rep. Kathi-Anne Reinstein, and State Sen. Anthony Petruccelli.

Dr. Paul McGee, president of the Winthrop Chamber of Commerce, said the Metropolitan Beaches Commission public hearing for Winthrop Beach did not provide enough information about the physical state of the beach or the ongoing Winthrop Beach Renourishment Project.

The Commission, led by co-chairs State Sen. Tom McGee and State Rep. Kathi-Anne Reinstein, hosted the hearing Tuesday night at the Robert A. DeLeo Senior Center. Speaker of the House Robert A. DeLeo, State Sen. Anthony Petruccelli, Town Manager James McKenna, Fire Council President Peter Gill, and town councilors joined a large contingent of Winthrop residents and town officials at the hearing.

McGee said he didn’t feel the format of the meeting served Winthrop residents well. Elected officials opened the meeting with brief remarks before participants “broke out into small groups to share their thoughts on the conditions on Winthrop Beach.” Those thoughts were then summarized

Interestingly there were four groups at the start of the “breakout session” but two of the groups merged during the session, leaving just three to report back their findings to the assemblage.

McGee expressed his dissatisfaction with the meeting’s entire format.

“I was disappointed,” said McGee. “I was looking forward to more factual information and a give-and-take regarding the present condition of the beach and when the project will be completed. I don’t feel breaking off into small groups I going to really accomplish anything because essentially were looking for information from the DCR why the beach is in this condition.

“One of my big concerns is the sand. I know they talked about taking sand from Saugus which doesn’t have the same consistency as the sand on Winthrop Beach now. I know they took that type of sand and put it on Revere Beach and I know they’ve had problems for years.”

McGee said he was always disenchanted by the fact there was no representation for the residents of Winthrop Shore Drive at the meeting.

“As many representatives as they had there, I didn’t see anyone that had a representation for Winthrop Shore Drive. I saw Nahant, I saw Revere, but I didn’t see anyone from Winthrop.”

DeLeo announced at the meeting that the Winthrop Beach Project will be completed by the end of 2014.

“That would be great,” said DeLeo. “Bob has been a wonderful representative for Winthrop for many years but they didn’t see exactly when in 2014 and I also want to find out more details. Because if they are going to be trucking in sand, we would like to know when that phase of the project is going to start.

  • Bruce Berman

    I just wanted to take a moment to respond to Dr. McGee’s suggestions about the recent Metropolitan Beaches Commission hearing in Winthrop.

    The purpose of this round of Metropolitan Beaches Commission hearings is
    to give the region’s residents the opportunity to express their
    concerns about the current status of their public beaches and to share
    their suggestions about how to make our beaches better going forward.

    As all who attended last weeks hearing will agree, Winthrop’s residents
    took full advantage of the opportunity to share their thoughts, concerns
    and suggestions with the MBC.

    So far this summer the Commission has held public hearings in Lynn,
    Nahant, Revere, Winthrop, East Boston, South Boston, Quincy and Hull
    with an additional hearing scheduled for later this month in Dorchester.

    More than 100 people attended last weeks hearing in Winthrop, and
    clearly expressed how much the care about Winthrop Beach. They also
    clearly expressed a number of concerns and a desire for more information
    about the beach renourishment project which is presently underway.

    Commissioner Samantha Overton, who represents the Department of
    Conservation and Recreation on the MBC, agreed to find ways to improve
    communications between the DCR and Winthrop residents.

    DCR will be sending a representative to an upcoming council meeting to
    provide an update about the status of the project. Commissioner Overton
    indicated a willingness to schedule follow-up meetings with residents to
    share information about the project as well.

    Save the Harbor / Save the Bay has been asked by the Commission to help
    lead and manage the current round of hearings, and to coordinate the
    Commission’s findings and recommendations.

    We want to thank Co-Chairs Senator Thomas McGee and Representative
    Kathi-Anne Reinstein as well as MBC Commissioner Barbara Bishop of
    Winthrop and all the other Commissioners for their time and commitment
    to all our region’s waterfront neighborhoods and beachfront communities.

    We especially want to thank Speaker Robert DeLeo for his leadership and
    tenacious advocacy on behalf of Winthrop Beach and the region’s other
    public beaches.

    As we said at the hearing, the Commission will hold an additional public
    meeting early next year to give the hundreds of people who have taken
    part in the hearings a chance to review our work and to make certain
    that our final report reflects your concerns and suggestions.

    The Metropolitan Beaches Commission welcomes your comments and
    suggestions. Please send them to us by email at info@savetheharbor.org

    Residents with specific questions or comments about the beach
    renourishment project should send them to DCR at mass.parks@state.ma.us

    Thanks again to all participated.

    Bruce Berman
    Director of Strategy, Communications, and Programs
    Save the Harbor / Save the Bay

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