Mills won’t oppose Hudson River anchorages
KINGSTON >> A resolution opposing new Hudson River anchorages that critics say would fill the Kingston Point Beach viewshed, as well as views at two locations along the town of Esopus shoreline, will not be embraced by Alderwoman Maryann Mills.
At a Democratic caucus Monday, Mills, D-Ward 7, said parking areas for barges and tugs are needed for navigational safety on the river.
“The tug companies just want to be safe and use spots so that, if they had to anchor due to bad weather, they can,” she said.
“One thing we have to remember (is) that we have a river that runs through the Hudson Valley,” Mills said. “If it weren’t for that river and the access to Kingston by the commercial ships over the past 300 years, Kingston would not be here.”
Mills added that economic concerns would also keep vessels from overusing the anchorage locations.
“A ship or a tug is like a truck,” she said. “If they are not moving, they do not make money, so they do not want to sit idle and the tug owners want their (boats) to keep moving because of that and the last thing they want is for a tug and a barge to be anchoring and have to pay the cost of manpower, usually (a crew of) six people.”
Under the proposal sought by shipping industry officials and under consideration by the U.S. Coast Guard, there would be 10 new anchorage locations. The four affecting Ulster County would be:
• Kingston Flats South Anchorage Ground, for up to three vessels, immediately across the river from Kingston Point Beach.
• Port Ewen Anchorage Ground, which would allow one vessel near two Esopus parks.
• Big Rock Point Anchorage Ground, south of Port Ewen, which would allocate space for four vessels near Esopus Meadows.
• Milton Anchorage Ground, which could be used by two vessels.
The resolution opposing the proposal contends the anchorage sites would conflict with use of recreation sites.
“The long-term parking of barges in the Kingston Hub is an added risk ... as the public swimming beach, one of the only public swimming beaches on the Hudson, where swimmers already must leave the water whenever a vessel passes due to the high wakes,” officials wrote.
There is also concern that the anchorages could damage environmentally sensitive areas.
“The proposed anchorage Kingston Flats South is in the vicinity of ... large beds of submerged aquatic vegetation and globally rare freshwater tidal wetlands at the mouth of the Rondout (Creek) just to the west of this proposed anchorage,” according to the resolution.
The U.S. Coast Guard is taking comments until Dec. 6 on its website at https:// www.regulations.gov//comment?D=USCG-20160132-0001