Re: Beach ReNourishment … a good read

RAY EIFLER on May 25, 2012 at 4:21 pm said:Edit

Fellow Residents:      Here is a copy of an e-mail I recieved from a resident. The silent majority is beginning to see the problems within the PLCA and is speaking up.                                      Ray

Based on posts by Anne Cramer I think the beach renewal project has taken on a new posture. Apparently as late as this past April, the state environmental protection body has ruled in a way that would make the renewed beach a public facility and PL would take on the responsibility of maintaining it. I don’t pretend to know the nuances of such a possibility but just based on Anne’s statements it looks very ominous indeed. In addition PL would open itself to liability should our actions cause damage to beach property in the vicinity. Moreover, Hyatt has indicated that it will not support financially any renourishment should it be necessary in the future. Whether Hyatt would have to be in compliance with the state regs and become a party to any litigation opened by third parties are further questions that occur. It is however entirely possible that they, Hyatt, intend to separate themselves from any possible financial and/or legal involvement.

Unlike many activities that become controversial in PL, this beach plan has the potential of causing severe financial outcomes for the community. I think of the late Visioning Project where everything on everyone’s wish list was considered but the cost could have risen as I recall north of 10 or 12 million with bonding the probable necessity. In that case cooler and well placed heads prevailed. The beach is another potentially very expensive undertaking with one important difference. The whole idea of beach protection has huge risks attached and severe regulatory oversight is constant and if anything, increasingly restrictive and protective of public responsibility and expense when things go wrong. And they will go wrong…no one ought to think the beach can be renewed one year and not be prepared to do it again and again depending on factors that are totally unpredictable and totally beyond human control. One example: while living on Longboat, one major, and hugely expensive renourishment lasted fewer than six months and was followed by another in a year or so and yet a third a few years later…all three within 10 or so years.

In the PL case I don’t see that anyone is looking carefully at the risks, particularly now that the state requirements and their implications are better known and Hyatt’s policy has been authoritatively articulated. My assessment is that the project has a nearly unlimited risk profile with no apparent way of either measuring the money that might become involved or the likelihood of significantly destructive natural and or human-caused events. Moreover, what it means to be a public facility in terms of operational responsibility and liability has had no analysis that I am aware of. Given those developments it seems clearly necessary to reopen FORMAL consideration of the project…both to obtain the best possible estimate of risk and to fully inform the community. How to attain this review is the question.

Obviously, I am writing to you in the hope that you will get involved, if you are not already. The BOD may be so entrenched in the project that they are unwilling to take a second look in the face of new information.( At least new to me). If that is the case, some kind of community-based action needs to result in a study group or other device to shed the light on the project and its risks and demand the attention of the BOD. Perhaps you and others like Anne Cramer can get something started. I would think your legal background would be invaluable. As I think of my own experience with project/program risk and profitability evaluation, had I ever recommended to a BOD that a project go ahead without assessment of both the known and the imponderables, such as those facing PL in this instance, they would have asked me to clean out my desk. Please let me know what you think.