After meeting with local elected officials, Massport Executive Director and CEO Virginia Buckingham today announced that Massport will fund a technical consultant for the Bayswater Blast Fence Committee (BFC). The BFC requested assistance after their first meeting last week.
"It is important to make every effort to assist and support the Bayswater Blast Fence Committee," said Buckingham. "We want the community to understand the facts about the blast fence and have an opportunity to provide comment during the public review period."
The consultant will help analyze data related to the blast fence and allow the committee to comment on the Environmental Notification Form (ENF) within the 45-day public comment period.
"We are pleased Massport recognizes the importance of assisting the community in its evaluation of the blast fence proposal from both a technical and environmental perspective," said Richard Lynds, a member of the BFC. "Having our own independent consultant review Massport's findings permits us to better understand the proposal as well as participate in the environmental review process in a more meaningful way. We are confident that with the continued guidance of our elected officials and the cooperation of Massport, this ongoing process can yield positive results on all fronts."
The Bayswater Blast Fence Committee is comprised of local residents with the goal of proposing a mitigation program that provides a real civic and environmental benefit to the community pending the removal of the blast fence.
Massport voluntarily filed the ENF on the blast fence to provide a comprehensive opportunity for community review. Massport also asked MEPA to extend the regular public comment period from 30 days to 45 days.
Prior to the filing Massport conducted eight community briefings on the blast fence to share information with local residents and listen to proposals for mitigation. Approximately 100 people from East Boston participated. From those meetings, Massport has agreed to enter into a legal contract with the community to maintain the existing airport noise rules governing arrivals on 22R and departures on 4L, and committed to $4 million to fund civic and environmental programs as proposed by the BFC. The committee has also requested that Massport consider constructing a runway safety end on 22R, following the removal of the fence.
Massport's safety concerns about the blast fence were heightened by several aircraft accidents that occurred in the recent past including a number resulting in fatalities. Massport studies have shown the benefits of the blast fence to the Bayswater community are very minimal and better results could be achieved through mitigation.