EASTHAM — The Rock Harbor parking lot and boat ramp are expected to be accessible at last next week, according to Harbormaster Scott Richards.
“The project is near completion and the boat ramp has been installed,” Richards said via email. “The plan is to pave the parking lot [July 28] and it will take the rest of this week for the asphalt to set, because of the heat this time of year.”
The lot is owned by the Commonwealth, so the parking lot and boat ramp work is being overseen by the Mass. Office of Fishing and Boating Access (FBA).
Doug Cameron of the FBA said in April that the project, contracted to Biszko Building Systems of Fall River, had hit some delays and was expected to be done by July 1. Cameron didn’t respond to a phone call or email last week.
But Richards said, once the lot can be driven on, the final step is to paint the lines. He said the town was able to install new docks last week.
Even though the ramp and parking lot have been closed to the public all season, at least one boater was reported to have launched a boat there earlier this month.
Select board chair Aimée Eckman and Richards both confirmed that the site had been used for boat launching without town permission. The select board is expected to discuss the issue next week.
Meanwhile, the town’s harbor planning committee met on July 23 to review plans for renovating town-owned landings.
The committee discussed renovation of the boat ramp at Hemenway Landing and creating better storage spaces for kayaks or small vessels, more access at Collins Landing, and better access for commercial shellfishermen at First Encounter Beach.
The scope of the plan, which was finalized in February, is to renovate and update existing infrastructure are town-owned landings and beaches while creating better access and storage space for commercial and recreational users.
But committee member Christine LaBranche questioned whether creating more access in these areas is a good idea because of the coronavirus pandemic.
“Some of this makes me nervous,” she said.
She also wondered whether adding more access points for boats in the cove is a good thing environmentally.
“I just fear if we create more and more access, how much can it take?” said LaBranche. “How much can the marsh take, how many more people, before it starts to affect the environment?”