(BOSTON) – On Tuesday, October 31st, commissioners of the Metropolitan Beaches Commission (MBC), including House Vice-Chair and State Representative Joan Meschino (D-Hull), hosted their annual hearing following the release of the Commission’s “Breaking Barriers” report earlier this year. This hearing, held in a hybrid format in the State House, follows five years of fully remote hearings, with Department of Conservation and Recreation (DCR) Commissioner Brian Arrigo and City of Boston Director of Green Infrastructure Kate England as this year’s featured speakers.
“The Metropolitan Beaches Commission’s annual hearing furthers the implementation process of its Breaking Barriers report and provides us legislators with an opportunity to advocate for our district beach infrastructure priorities, including those at Hull’s Nantasket Beach,” said State Representative and MBC Vice-Chair Joan Meschino (D-Hull). “Thank you to Save the Harbor/Save the Bay staff and Director Chris Mancini, my fellow Commissioners, and all those who testified at the hearing for their continued commitment to expanding access to our treasured beachfront sites, including those in the Third Plymouth District.”
“It’s reassuring to know Commissioner Arrigo shares our goals and values when it comes to making our spectacularly urban beaches accessible to everyone,” said Save the Harbor Executive Director Chris Mancini. “We’re looking forward to supporting and collaborating with our partners at DCR to continue breaking barriers to access for people of color, people with disabilities and those who don’t speak English as a first language.”
With an attendance of over 100 people, DCR Commissioner Brian Arrigo testified on the agency’s efforts to address recommendations from the MBC’s Breaking Barriers report, including steps towards equity and diversity focused hiring practices within the department as well as the $32 million spent by DCR towards capital infrastructure improvements in the past five years. Commissioner Arrigo spoke about goals for improvements for accessibility and signage improvements on the metropolitan region’s beaches and committed to adding more multilingual signage to the region’s beaches before the 2024 beach season. Kate England, the Director of Green Infrastructure from the City of Boston, gave a brief presentation on water quality impacts from climate change and use of green infrastructure to mitigate the impact from increased precipitation in the Commonwealth this year.
The recording, transcript and summary of the hearing will be available shortly at www.savetheharbor.org/mbc. The deadline for members of the public to submit written testimony has passed, but please reach out to Policy Coordinator Alya Zwyer at email@example.com for more information on specifics from the hearing.
The Metropolitan Beaches Commission was created in 2006 by the Massachusetts Legislature to provide oversight to the Boston area’s 15 public beaches, including those in the town of Hull which are managed by the Department of Conservation and Recreation (DCR). The commission is composed of elected officials and community leaders from Boston and the metropolitan region’s waterfront neighborhoods and beachfront communities. Its work is facilitated by Save the Harbor/Save the Bay, who has served as lead consultant to the Commission since its inception.