In a bid to improve communication with the public, the town will produce a series of educational videos that address coastal protection efforts.
At its June 14 regular meeting, the Town Council approved a request for $34,820 from Boca Raton-based Coastal Protection Engineering to assist town staff in creating the presentation-style videos.
CPE will provide video support services for the project, while the Palm Beach Civic Association will be asked to conduct interviews with town staff and consultants.
Four videos will be created, with each one focusing on topics that the town's Shore Protection Board addressed at its workshop in April, Coastal Program Manager Rob Weber told the council.
Those topics include a historic review of the town’s beach nourishment efforts, coastal hard structure technology, Reach 8, and temporary and perpetual easements.
The videos will fulfill the Shore Protection Board's focused goal for 2022, Weber said.
"It's no secret that the Public Works staff is made up of engineers," Weber said. "We build projects. Communication isn't necessarily our strong point. With that in mind, rather than having a long list of goals for this calendar year, the Shore Protection Board had one goal, and that was to try and improve communication. The way they want to try and accomplish this is to have a series of videos created."
Council members supported the plan, noting that the videos would help inform residents of the Shore Protection Board's work.
The seven-member board acts in an advisory capacity to the town council and makes recommendations in matters relating to shore protection, coastal management, beach nourishment, coastal armoring and the sand transfer plant.
The board's meetings often are sparsely attended, Council President Maggie Zeidman said, and residents would benefit from a new method of communication about important issues related to coastal management.
"We needed to do something to communicate effectively with the residents," she said. "No one comes to the meetings ... They don't have three or four hours, which is what the Shore Board meeting is going to be.
"There's a lot of misinformation out there. Misinformation is wrong information, and that leads to wrong conclusions by our residents. These types of things I believe need to be corrected. The only way we're going to correct them is to try something different."
Council member Ted Cooney said producing videos about the town's coastal management efforts would help improve communication with residents.
"I think this is a great idea," he said. "Government is good at some things. Communication isn't always its strong suit. When we think about the world we're in, you look at what effective corporations and individuals in our society are doing. One of the most powerful mediums they're using to communicate ideas and messaging is video.
"We have a number of new residents, and we'll be getting more as the years go on, so I think some understanding of our coastal management program is important."
The videos are expected to be about 10 to 15 minutes in length, Weber said, and most likely would be posted on the town's website.
For information on the town's coastal management program, visit townofpalmbeach.com/133/Coastal-Protection.
This article originally appeared on Palm Beach Daily News: Palm Beach to produce coastal protection videos to educate residents