Louisiana: Some residents feel Cameron left out of coastal master plan draft

By Maranda Whittington — LAKE CHARLES, LA (KPLC) – About $50 billion is budgeted to go to a variety of projects to restore Louisiana’s coast.

But some residents feel the 2017 plan has neglected projects in Cameron Parish.

Cameron residents were among those who voiced their concerns as the Louisiana Coastal Protection and Restoration Authority presented its new 2017 coastal master plan draft.

One of the biggest issues was shoreline protection for Cameron Parish.

“We’re looking at your plan that spends a huge amount of money on barrier islands but nothing on barrier shoreline – what is the problem?” asked one Cameron Parish resident.

CPRA’s chief of planning and research, Bren Haase, talked about the plan but also wanted to hear comments from the public.

“Our job is to take those comments and get back to the office and look at the plan and see where changes might be warranted, based again on that public input and that local knowledge – that’s here,” he said.

Haase said not every project can be included in the plan.

“The analysis that we’ve gone through didn’t indicate that those shoreline protection projects were needed to be included in the plan,” he said. “We understand that there’s a lot of opinions that differ from that and as I said, this is not a perfect plan.”

Mason Lindsay owns property in Cameron Parish and wants the CPRA to create a project that will protect the beaches there.

“We’ve never had a large project that really solved the problems of the beach,” said Lindsay. “The beaches are continuing to erode; we’re continuing to lose sand and lose our beaches.”

Some residents at the meeting just want to learn more about the plan and the coastline.

“I want to know the plan;I want to know more about wetlands,” said Sarah Erbelding. I know that there are different kinds of wetlands and what can we do about it to bring in more tourism?”

Haase is hoping that this feedback will be useful in improving the plan.

“We don’t have all the answers and we don’t think our process is perfect; we don’t think our analyses are all perfect,” he said. “We need to strengthen this plan through that local knowledge and public input so that at the end of the day we have a better plan.”

The CPRA will continue to take public comment until March 26.

The group will submit its final plan to legislators by April 25..

If you would like to submit a comment or view the master plan, click HERE.

You can also email comments at master plan@la.gov.

You can view this online here.