To the Editor:
At the town meeting in November, the town of West Tisbury voted to ban dogs from Lambert’s Cove Beach. With that vote came the responsibility of the town, through the parks and rec department, to enforce it. That meant hiring attendants to cover the additional hours of 7-10 am and 6:30 pm to dark, new signage, and whatever else the park and rec does to facilitate their duties.
I believe the budget for the town for the following year (2012) was due in December. For some reason, the park and rec did not submit any request for additional money to cover these new expenses.
The fact that the town voted to allow dogs in the morning hours at the April town meeting does not change the town’s responsibility to provide attendants to cover those hours. The town is finally, at the last moment, calling a special town meeting to ask the voters for additional funds to cover expenses that were already necessary. Unfortunately, the timing makes it appear to many people as if the partial repeal of the ban is somehow responsible for the extra expense. It’s not. The ban itself is the cause of the extra expense.
What did change is that a group of concerned West Tisbury residents who treasure the beach and love their dogs formed a committee called the Friends of Lambert’s Cove Beach. Their intention is to facilitate safety, sanitation, and education. They listened to the concerns of those who don’t want dogs on the beach and came up with solutions intended to accommodate both sides.
They are willing to provide volunteers in the parking lot in the morning hours to greet dog owners, to educate them on the need to keep their dogs under control, to pick up after their dogs and abide by the rules set up by the park and rec. The committee already has volunteer commitments to cover a good part of the summer schedule.
Friends of Lambert’s Cove Beach have also begun fundraising. These funds will go toward a donation of dog bags and extra disposal containers to supplement what the P&R provides, and which the group will maintain throughout the summer. The group is also willing to give the town money to go toward the payroll of an attendant in the morning.
The Friends of Lambert’s Cove Beach want to help the town of West Tisbury and alleviate some of this burden, by providing volunteer greeters and money in the form of donations to help cover expenses during the morning hours. They are showing a wholehearted, earnest effort to preserve and protect Lambert’s Cove Beach.