Yesterday, May 19, the Post and Courier contained an article on page 7B reporting that the SPA Board had approved a project to adjust "timber fenders" at the proposed Union Pier cruise ship pier to provide a cushion between ships! This pier is planned to be 1800 feet (although the SPA has recently taken the dimensions off the drawings, and it has never given a reason for needing such a long pier), and the Carnival Fantasy (the ship based here) is only 855 feet.
Between ships! That means, of course, that the SPA's "voluntary limits" of no more than one ship per day, two per week, or 104 per year are highly suspect if not outright fabrications. Mayor Riley should be forced to live in Ansonborough--and so should most of the city council.
This is an excellent article that focuses on the real issues, namely the highest and best use for the land (which cannot possibly be vast parking lots) and, why, if the SPA is really serious about its "voluntary limits" of only 2 cruise ships a week or 104 per year, won't they put this in writing. It's clear, as this article also implies, that the SPA has no intention of limiting cruise ship visits--and that makes a mockery of Joe Riley's dismissal of the cruise ship industry's impact on Charleston--when he has no idea what the upper limit will actually be. Mr. Riley's job is to protect the city as well as to grow it, but there is clearly no protection for Charleston in this plan. The failure of Mr. Riley and city officials (as well as other stakeholders) to mandate that cruise ship limits be written down and codified makes the example of Key West, Belize, and Bermuda (where cruise ships have damaged the reputation and the quality of life of these ports) highly relevant to the discussion.
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