Bear Island residents criticize Cattle Landing dock

MEREDITH — Nearly two dozen residents, most from Bear Island, urged the Board of Selectmen to take steps to correct flaws in the design of the new docks at Cattle Landing when the board met last night.

""We're delighted with the new dock," began Don Morrissey of Gilford who summers on the island, "but it does have some problems."

The floating concrete dock is 80 feet long. It is anchored by three piles projecting from the side of the dock, one at the end and two on the south side, bracketed to the dock by four-foot by six-foot timber frames or guides. It is lined with posts, set flush to the dock, with cleats between them.

Morrisey said that not only did the piles limit the capacity of the dock but also posed a hazard to boats, which struck the guides. The pile at the end of the dock, he said, eliminated what had traditionally been a "drop off and pick up" spot, available when both sides of the dock were occupied.
He proposed framing and decking the docking to enclose the projecting piles.

"I haven't run into anyone who is pleased with the dock," said Michael Robinson, who said his Boston Whaler was damaged when it slipped under the dock, then struck it when lifted by wave action. He said that such incidents were common with the small boats that represent much of the traffic at the dock.

Others pointed out that the posts, which are flush with the dock are of little use when tying up or stepping ashore, while the cleats are a hazard to those getting in and out of their boats. One man noted that the ramp is not properly matched to the dock, hindering the use of wheelchairs.

The selectmen directed Warren to present the issues to the manufacturer and ask what can be done to address them and, at the same time, to approach the New Hampshire Department of Environmental Services to determine if Morrissey's proposal would represent an expansion of the dock requiring the agency's approval.