Members of the Anadromous Fish Habitat Protection Task Force faced a monumental charge when borough Mayor Mike Navarre asked them to examine the habitat protection expansion ordinance and find ways to make it better.
Finding a way to balance private property rights with resource conservation is never an easy task, especially in a community where people love the land under their feet and want to be as close to the resource as possible.
Moreover, the task force was handed an already controversial topic and told to incorporate all of the community’s comments into some kind of recommendation package.
While the objective of the task force was initially loosely defined, we think the group should be commended for their efforts.
A massive amount of comments, presentations, data and even rhetoric was gathered, sorted and analyzed. A lot of good information was brought forward that will remain available to the public, many good and qualified speakers shared their expertise on the matter and hundreds of residents spoke their minds about the issue at town hall meetings and through letters or emails.
In all, we had a nine-month process where this community got down and dirty into how and if we can make conservation and property rights fit together. That conversation wasn’t easy and it was placed directly on the task force members’ shoulders.
Whether or not you agree with what the task force generated, you certainly should recognize that these individuals gave a thorough effort on a thankless job.
In fact what they did is what the borough assembly should have done back in 2011 before voting on the issue. Hopefully now the assembly, administration and the public are all a bit smarter on how to go about tackling big issues like this.
In addition to our thanks for the task force’s work, we’d like to give them some applause on their crafting a proposal that, if put before the assembly, will send a notice to all affected property owners’ mailboxes and restart the public process.
Now the weight is directly on the shoulders of the public and the assembly to decide what happens next.