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Islands Trust Devastates Island Escapades

    Editorial & Opinions, Governance & Politics    April 26, 2018

It seems we have to cancel reopening Island Escapades, which was to be renamed BEACHSiDE. Islands Trust has told us that we will be subject to fines, etc. if we complete work on our replacement retaining wall, or the back patio, or stairs. They stressed that the permit to replace a wall will take months. (We did not even know the wall was devastated and much of the hillbank holding the house was gone until we started cutting down all the ivy! The summer IS what makes a business here!)

When we were cutting down the two invasive ivy species behind the building (the equivalent of a couple dump trucks full!) we came across three major issues:

1. The ocean had been piercing through the sandstone retaining wall and had taken out massive amounts of soil from the hill bank, that holds up the building, out to sea, leaving huge entangled invasive ivy root masses without much soil.
2. The entire large boulder sandstone retaining wall had crumbled and was wrapped in ivy root masses
3. The old building with not much foundation was dropping in one corner and was standing on loose soil and sand, with a few feet drop and nothing to hold it there.

We quickly had an excavator operator remove the rest of the root masses, and we pulled out a ton of plastic, including plastic flowers, syringes, plastic bags, etc. We looked at options to get a wall back quickly that was more stable than sandstone boulders (like the ones that are also crumbling after only three years as I have been told at the point at the end of gasoline alley) and that would be easy to plant around with native plants to shore up the bank fast. We also wheelbarrowed in a ton of soil attempting to quickly fix a severely undermined creek bank. (with my family, I started salmon fry salvages in 1978 at the age of 8, so I kinda like them!).

Jack Rosen, with his vast experience in this tidal zone and his background in environmental sciences, has stated that the wall we have just built is perfect and will even protect from storm silt deposition into the creek due to its planter design boxes. Islands Trust said we should not have replaced the wall without their approval and have shut it down. They said we could have replaced the retaining wall with vegetation. If that is the case, they admitted that nothing could outcompete the type of ivy that was there, so if the ivy could not prevent huge erosion on this property, how could a much less tenacious species protect our home and soil erosion into the creek? Would any of you put a big mortgage on an old place, spend tons of money restoring it, wanting to share it’s more original state and its beach with the community, and be happy shoring up the bank that holds it up against storms and their power with just vegetation?!

Our entire family just went for a meeting with two members of Islands Trust. During the meeting, it felt like we were making progress and I expressly stated that this patio structure was almost the entire thrust of what will be BEACHSiDE, a place where anyone can gather by the beach, will have access to the beach and can connect in an atmosphere that we had hoped would feel like a taste of the old times, free of fences, gates, bushes…just wide open space with beautiful quiet music in a beautiful atmosphere.

Without the patio, because I have to work the finances, it just feels like it would be financially stressful and I told Islands Trust about it’s importance. Needless to say, it does not seem to matter much to them. My loving wife started to cry when she read their email tonight, and our kids are disheartened. I do not wish to cause my family any pain.

Is Islands Trust really caring about people? I wish we could all stand up and say, “Where is the logic?” Why do we stand for bullying? This feels kind of hypocritical, doesn’t it? To preserve and protect what exactly? Mother Earth is actually very powerful, human beings on the other hand, can be quite fragile. Do you agree? Shouldn’t we be helping each other, protecting each other?

I ask you, the one man who lodged the complaint, took pictures of the excavator operators, their vehicles, license plates and harassed them, do you care? Thanks for assuming that we do not care about salmon. We love all creatures. Thanks for not just asking. It seems so amazing that judgemental and unhappy people can maintain anonymity, ruin people’s lives and just sit back and grin. Is that right? Islands Trust feels obliged to act due to complaints. We are in the open, downtown. I wonder if you feel badly about this? I do not know, because you hide, while we are stopped. Now we have affected the lives of others who were going to work for us. Our whole family feels absolutely sick about that! This was going to be our children’s future and offering to the community, whom we love and feel much gratitude.

Editor’s Note: This story was originally published as an ad on the Exchange and was republished as a Local News story.

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