We have a big issue right here on Cape Cod that many choose to ignore. We rightly elect to be a tourist destination: We have gorgeous beaches, a boaters’ paradise that surrounds us, good diverse fishing from scup to billfish, a variety of motels/hotels and restaurants that serve many different pocketbooks, and weather that accommodates tourists during a long summer that extends into October.
At the same time, we are enamored of building bigger single-family homes with vast lawns that tax our water supply and pollute our estuaries, as well as dense housing projects, such as the proposed Twin Brooks, that threaten access to our beaches and our clean water supply.
We cannot preserve our environment and accommodate mega houses with seven bathrooms.
The solutions are simple: 1) Pay folks a living wage to work here. Kudos to the owner of Andy’s Markets who figured this out and pays employees a minimum wage of $20; 2) Amend the ridiculous Title 5 septic system regulations that do nothing to remove nitrogen, a primary pollutant, from our waters; 3) Eliminate local grandfathering zoning laws that permit waterfront desecration such as building seaside mansions where an oyster shack with a potty existed in the past; 4) Put our environment ahead of all other priorities.
The schizo-policy we seem to be on will lead to a destruction of the Cape that will solve our tourist problem: If you can’t swim at our beaches or in our lakes, if Cape Cod Bay no longer has summer-resident whales, if we can’t eat our fish, will folks still flock to the Cape? I think not.
Housing values will plummet, those who can will move and those who cannot will lose the customer base that supported their living wage. This is not an end we deserve, if we can reorder our priorities.
James H. Bodurtha, Cotuit
This article originally appeared on Cape Cod Times: save the cape cod environment or the tourists will stop visiting