To the Editor:
Someone has posted two signs announcing “Beach Closed” at the shoreline near the arch in Rocky Point Park. I’m not sure who posted the signs as there has been no ordinance proposed, no public comment, and no vote on closing a public beach.
The city, at the instigation of Councilman Ed Ladouceur, has previously attempted to close this beach by erecting a wall across it, in order to appease wealthy Ward 5 constituents on Tea House Lane. The Coastal Resources Management Council made the city remove that wall, and this time the CRMC should remove these beach closure signs as they are in violation of Article 1 of the state’s Constitution ensuring public access.
Whoever posted them will likely cite the recent drowning at Conimicut and “liability” issues, but these are specious arguments. Conditions at this placid beach are not comparable to the treacherous currents and shifting sands at Conimicut Point, and even there it’s not swimmers who get into trouble, it’s fishermen burdened by boots and other gear who are prone to slipping off the shifting sands of the Point.
Since the park’s reopening many years ago there have been no lifeguards at Rocky Point Beach, and there have been no problems, no promises of protection, and hence no liability. This “Beach Closure” is an attempted seizure of public land for private interests.
Editor’s note: When asked about the beach closure Wednesday, Mayor Joseph Solomon said he knew of no swimming beach at Rocky Point or a sign that it was closed. The mayor’s office later called to say the signs were suggested by DEM and that they have been changed to say there is no lifeguard on duty.