PR campaign launched to support marina expansion

BRISTOL, R.I. — Bristol Marine has launched a public relations campaign to increase support for the proposed 228-slip marina expansion in Bristol Harbor, the Providence Journal reported in an article Friday.

The proposal for the expansion has been controversial, with disapproval from the Town Council, Bristol Yacht Club and over 1,000 residents who signed a petition against the plan, according to the newspaper.

Trion Communications of Providence has started to hand out thousands of fliers about the project and is e-mailing a newsletter, “Harbor Access Update,” in hopes of gaining support for the proposed expansion.

The newsletter is a response to concerns and questions coming from the community, with topics including environmental and safety issues, according to David Preston, of Trion, spokesman for Bristol Marine.

“The handouts are going to people that have asked questions; we’re mailing some to folks and making a quick canvas of some marine businesses in town, and elected officials,” Preston told the Journal. “We’re doing this to ratchet down some of the rhetoric from the other side that surrounded this thing and to start to have a serious conversation about what the project is about. We have 5,000 [handouts], and I expect to run out.”

The campaign has not changed everyone’s minds, specifically Stephan Brigidi’s, a co-chair of Save Bristol Harbor, who collected over 1,300 signatures from people petitioning the expansion plan.

Preston argues that a plan to expand the marina would help solve the problem of a long waiting list for slip access, while Brigidi is concerned about more pollution and an increase in boat traffic that would inhibit harbor safety.

Before any expansion plans can begin, Bristol Marine has to apply for the rights with the Coastal Resources Management Council, according to the Journal.

Grover J. Fugate, the coastal council’s executive told the newspaper that there are would be processes in place to ensure community involvement, after the establishment applies for the rights. Fugate also told the paper that the process could take “several months.”

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