Can't we all just get along?
That phrase may be cliché now, but it perfectly sums up the ridiculous inability of officials from Chatham and Orleans to come to agreement over how to pay for North Beach patrols. The issue has become overly complicated; boiled down, Orleans wants Chatham to take over patrols of its one-mile stretch of beach, but doesn't want to give up any of the revenue from non-resident vehicle sticker sales to help pay for the patrols. Chatham wants to add a $65 surcharge to stickers to cover the cost, a move opposed by Orleans. Chatham selectmen and the Orleans Park Commission, also the board of selectmen, haven't met face-to-face since September and need to do so in order to thrash out the issues.
Both parties need each other. Orleans controls the entrance to the beach, while Chatham controls the southern tip, the most desirable spot for many over-sand enthusiasts. Both towns spent considerable time and money developing habitat conservation programs to satisfy the concerns of state environmental agencies that shorebirds nesting on the outer beach would be protected. It's time to put aside differences and compromise. After all, if, as Chatham Selectman Dean Nicastro pointed out, Chatham and Harwich can reach agreement on a multi-million dollar wastewater deal, working out how to pay for a beach access program should be child's play.