By Ed Kelley
In my last blog was I a bit harsh on some long standing residents of town and their spirited efforts to oppose the three DOT concepts submitted for review to the Borough Council? Yes. Is their opposition to the concepts wrong? No, not in my opinion, debate is always healthy. Should they have formed an ad hoc committee and published a list of objections in their official capacities without first presenting it to the rest of the Commission? No. They should have followed a better protocol.
As a history buff the phrase the Old Guard conjures images of the bearded Grizzled Veterans of Napoleon’s Old Guard charging Wellington’s Center at Waterloo and failing to break the “Thin Red Line.” The Old Guard in AH is equally valiant (though not all bearded) and committed to preserving the Atlantic Highlands that they grew up in. Can they? Should they? Can you stop progress? Is there a halfway point?
I have accused the Old Guard of being self-interested, and I believe they are. Mind you not in a pecuniary sort of way these are clearly dedicated and honorable people by most accounts (hearsay perhaps but their actions and commitment are legendary and in some cases self-evident). Their self interest lies in the form of not wanting to see too much change. They are self-interested to the extent that they see that which they have wrought, through personal diligence sweat and labor, as the best possible outcome.
Not all progress is good. The insatiable hounds of Development are baying at the gates of the borough. Developers are greedily eyeing our waterfront. Does the Old Guard think they can save the day? I hope they can. Does the Young Guard think that they have all the answers? That only they can chart a safe course through the shoals and rocks that crowd the uncharted waters of future development without the advice and wise council of those that have been there before? I hope they are not so foolish. Old and New need each other.
I think the one thing Old and New should agree on is that standing still is not an option. Further it is fair to assume that both old and new do not want the Developers to build luxury dwelling boxes on the Bay Shore and rob our children and residents of the bay views. Where the conflict occurs is what to do with the existing Harbor.
In Defense of the Old Guard the Harbor is well run and magnificent in many respects. The members of the ad hoc committee should be proud of their accomplishments in bringing the Harbor to where it is today. The Harbor contributes revenue to the town and does a great service to boaters, fisherman and commuters alike.
I will close with this. Is the Harbor doing all it can do for the residents of the town in terms of sharing the waterfront?