“De plane, de plane!”*
With million dollar homes comes luxury. And what could be more luxurious than skipping the airport and jumping on a seaplane to zip you off to your big meeting in New York City. Well, Cape Air is proposing just that. Seaplane service between Boston Harbor and New York Harbor – dock-to-dock in just over an hour. “This seamless connection between Boston’s bustling Seaport District and the heart of Manhattan at 23rd Street is scheduled to take flight in the summer of 2019.”
But of course, anything new can’t be without controversy in Southie. Remember Starbucks? The One Way Controversy? Well, a Cape Air representative presented the plan to the City Point Neighborhood Association on Tuesday night and mentioned that Congressman Stephen Lynch “approved” the proposed plan. Lynch released the following statement and is calling BS.
“It is my understanding that the representatives of Cape Air announced to the City Point Neighborhood Association last night that they had earlier met with me regarding their proposal for conducting seaplane operations in the Boston Harbor, and that I had “approved” those operations. Let me state unequivocally that those statements are false. Cape Air has never presented any such proposal to me and I have not given support to or approved any such proposal.
As many of my constituents in South Boston, Dorchester, Milton and Hull know firsthand, we have been engaged in a lengthy battle with the FAA and MassPort over the relentless noise and emission generated by the RNAV – Next Gen flight control system which directs thousands of flights of commercial jet aircraft over our neighborhoods and nearby towns on a weekly basis. In fact, for the express purpose of getting leverage and gaining a better negotiating position on behalf of our area residents, I joined the House Aviation Subcommittee several months ago.
My aim is to hold them accountable. Just to be clear, while I have not seen the Cape Air proposal, my opinion is this: I believe seaplanes would add noise and disruption to residential neighborhoods that are already overburdened. I would expect that seaplane activity would also threaten the maritime operations of our port facilities where we have just invested over $300 million in Federal and State taxpayer dollars for dredging. I plan to raise this issue with our friends at the U.S. Coast Guard to confirm this. Lastly, the residents of South Boston, Dorchester, the North End, Fort Point, East Boston and surrounding neighborhoods and towns all deserve to be involved in matters that directly impact their quality of life and any attempt to sidestep their participation or circumvent their elected representatives is blatant disrespect.”
Statement from City Councilor Ed Flynn:
“As the District City Councilor and a Veteran of the US Navy for nearly 25 years, I’m opposed to the proposal of seaplanes due to public safety concerns regarding flight patterns over the neighborhood of South Boston, as well as maritime concerns. Moreover, I will not support projects that lack transparency and a strong community process. The people of South Boston deserved the same opportunity to weigh in on quality of life issues as other communities received. I believe our focus should remain on public safety facilities, basic city services, a library, and community space; not an airport on the South Boston Waterfront.”
Statement from State Rep. David Biele:
“It is unacceptable that Cape Air engaged the South Boston community only after receiving approval from the FAA. If the company won’t be up front while seeking approvals, how will the company conduct itself afterwards? I can’t support an organization that shows such disrespect for the community I represent.”
Statement from City Councilor at-Large Michael Flaherty:
“I attended a meeting with the South Boston Delegation and Cape Air Representatives nearly a year ago. At that meeting, no commitments or endorsements were made to Cape Air. As I do with everyone who approaches me with a project, concept or idea, I specifically told the proponents to go out to the community and meet with the civic associations and talk to my neighbors.”
Flaherty continued, “I am extremely disappointed to learn that Cape Air came out to the South Boston community after that they had already secured approval from the Federal Aviation Agency — and 8 months after they engaged the East Boston community about their project. Our community deserves a legitimate opportunity to provide feedback about a project that will impact their quality of life, especially with a loading and landing dock in their neighborhood and particularly in light of the ongoing development the community continues to endure. Just as I led the opposition to the helipad, I will again stand with the community to ensure their voices heard loud and clear.”
Not off to a good start, Cape Air. Stay tuned for more.
*If you’re as old as we are, then you’ll remember the iconic opening of Fantasy Island with a seaplane flying over head, filled with vacationers, ready to land on an island where all your fantasy come true. Fantasy Island employee, Tattoo, played by Hervé Villechaize spots the sea plane coming in for a landing and alerts his boss, Mr. Roarke played by the incomparable Ricardo Montalbán and the rest of the staff by ringing a bell and shouting, “De plane, de plane!”
If the Boston – NY seaplane proposal takes off, we’ll be shouting this non-stop this summer. It’s the little things, folks.