Essex town councillors used Monday evening’s council meeting to pass a shoreline assistance loan program to help residents offset the costs of constructing retaining walls to prevent erosion along their properties.
According to Town of Essex Deputy Mayor Richard Meloche, town administrators were spurred to action after residents approached the town asking what can be done to help.
“These are big dollars that we require to put in shoreline protection, it’s very costly to bring in rock, and then you’re working, of course, with water and trying to build it appropriately,” Meloche said. “You’ve got to have somebody who knows how to do it properly, because if you just drop it there, it’s not going to be effective … so it’s an expensive avenue to go to provide the protection.”
After hearing from concerned residents, town administrators huddled together and “came up with an idea of going to one of our local financial institutions and trying to see if they could negotiate with them to borrow some money to allow for these break walls to be put in and attached to residents’ property taxes.”
Meloche said about a dozen residents have already asked about the program, even before council’s Monday evening vote.
He added that residents looking for the most bang for their buck “may want to start it now or … as soon as they can, in order to protect themselves.”
“Our water levels are expected to rise right up until July of this year,” Meloche said.