Tribe, MVC hold ‘productive conversation’

Cheryl Andrews-Maltais, chairwoman of the Wampanoag Tribe of Gay Head (Aquinnah), met with Martha's Vineyard Commission representatives. – Stacey Rupolo

Members of the Wampanoag Tribe of Gay Head (Aquinnah) and the Martha’s Vineyard Commission met Wednesday to discuss the tribe’s casino project, according to a joint statement released Thursday.

“The Wampanoag Tribe of Gay Head (Aquinnah), the Aquinnah Wampanoag Gaming Corporation, and the Martha’s Vineyard Commission met [Wednesday] and had a very productive conversation,” the joint statement reads. “We plan to meet again soon to continue the dialogue.”

The tribe, the commission, and the town of Aquinnah have been at odds over jurisdiction for the Aquinnah Cliffs Casino project. The tribe maintains that the project does not require local oversight, but town and commission officials want to make sure that traffic, building, and environmental regulations are addressed.

Meanwhile, in a letter dated March 8, the Chilmark board of selectmen has sent the tribe a letter requesting some details ahead of the town’s April 22 town meeting. The town needs information on the casino’s opening date, hours of operation, number of anticipated guests and vehicles, and hours of operation for beer and wine sales.

Chilmark officials are looking for the information to budget for public safety staffing, according to the letter. “In regard to your commitment to pay a fair share of these costs, please advise as to your proposal and schedule for reimbursement to the town of Chilmark,” the letter states.