No relief in sight


To the Editor:

On the Sunday before Memorial Day, May 29, between approximately 4:15 pm and 4:30 pm, I drove the length of Sylvia State Beach, as it is sometimes called, between Little Bridge in Oak Bluffs, past Big Bridge, to the Bend in the Road. I counted 279 cars. I did not count bicycles, trucks, walkers, etc. I counted not one restroom for anyone’s use.

Frankly, I’m tired of being one person crying into the wilderness of the bureaucracy that manages that stretch of beach. The elected officials of the towns of Oak Bluffs and Edgartown, plus the county manager Martina Thornton, plus the boards of health, conservation commissions, parks departments of the respective towns are derelict in their duties to obey the Clean Water Act, and town ordinances. They are not serving the public by having no restrooms.

In summer, conservatively, 1,500 people per day use this beach without the availability of a facility to relieve themselves, and the ocean and Sengekontacket, of the waste — urine and feces — that go into these bodies of water. In no other place in the U.S. that I have visited have I seen no restroom facilities at a beach. Hello.

If someone adds an addition to their home or builds a home, a Porta John must be on premises for the workmen and women — 10, 20, 30 workers, maybe. Why don’t 1,500 daily users of the beach need a Porta John? Or a few Porta Johns? Why don’t our elected officials do their jobs and put Porta Johns at Little Bridge, Big Bridge, and Bend in the Road, for a start?

There is no excuse for depriving people of the human need to urinate and move their bowels and/or expecting them to relieve themselves in the water or dunes. It is a travesty that Sylvia State Beach did not put in Porta Johns some 20 years ago when they were put in at Katama. Why are our elected officials dragging their feet? Please, give me one good reason not to have Porta Johns for people and for the health of our pond and ocean. I’ll give you approximately a dozen reasons why they are desperately needed as soon as possible. Summer approaches. Reason No. 1. 


Norma N. Holmes