Members of the Woods Hole Group gave an interesting description of what Woods Hole might look like in the future. It was part of their presentation on coastal resiliency and what Falmouth might face in the coming years as sea level rises.
The impact on Woods Hole will be greater in ways than it will be on other areas of town. Water Street, for example, will be inundated. Most of the village will be transformed. Penzance Point will become an island.
One way to cope, offered a consultant, is to turn the Eel Pond drawbridge into a flood control device. Roads in and out of the village could be rerouted. Sediment used to raise the road could be dredged, creating a new harbor. So, too, could “living-with-water zones” in which living space, green space and salt marshes are enclosed by earthen berms.
Elise Leduc, main presenter for the Woods Hole Group, told those gathered at the library that these ideas might sound “crazy.”
They might be to some, but we call them visionary. Envisioning is a rare commodity in Falmouth. There is a scarcity of it when it comes to parking and traffic, affordable housing and preservation of historic assets such as the Poor House. It took many meetings and debate to finally accept that sewers are not the sole answer to nitrogen loading in our estuaries. We tend to react instead of act.
Falmouth is not alone, of course. Lack of vision is pervasive at the state and federal levels of government, too.
But it is at the community level where there is the greatest opportunity to envision, and act on vision. The planning board is doing a great job at working toward form zoning. That’s good news.
Ms. Leduc should not have had to qualify her remarks by suggesting they might sound crazy. Envisioning requires thinking outside the norm. It is thinking about what might be, not what is. Bringing vision to fruition requires a lot of ideas, most of which will fall by the wayside. And because of that, a visionary must have the confidence to come up wrong most of the time.
That is why we should refer to their ideas as “bold,” not “crazy.”