September 16, 2013

Scarborough in a bind on dogs, beaches

Canine owners want access, U.S. officials want plovers protected, and project funding is at risk.

By Leslie Bridgers lbridgers@pressherald.com
Staff Writer

(Continued from page 1)

click image to enlarge

A sign on Pine Point Beach in Scarborough alerts visitors that it is a plover habitat.

Press Herald file photo/Carl D. Walsh

Town Manager Tom Hall has said he hopes enacting a summertime ban on unleashed dogs could help in the negotiation of a settlement with the federal agency.

"It's obviously a positive step that could be taken and something we'd consider," said Terri Edwards, a spokeswoman for the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service.

Hall also hopes the council doesn't delay its decision, for fear of putting at risk even more money -- the $3.5 million in federal funding that would pay for the Scarborough River to be dredged and for the sand to be transported to Western Beach, which has severely eroded.

Hall said the Army Corps of Engineers has put the project out to bid and will need to award a contract by the end of the month to get it done this year. The U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service, a consultant for the Army Corps, hasn't signed off on the project because of the lax leash ordinance.

Hall fears that, if the ordinance is not tightened, the Army Corps will hold off on the contract and the federal money could be reassigned.

"This money came to us very quickly and could leave very quickly," he said.

So far, the council has supported a stricter leash ordinance, despite opposition from dog owners at their meetings. When the council holds a public hearing and votes on the issue Wednesday, it will be the first time it has met since the town was notified of the fine.

"That's the 10,000-pound gorilla staring at us," Hall said.

Leslie Bridgers can be contacted at 791-6364 or at:

lbridgers@pressherald.com

 

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