New Round Hill Beach sticker system sparks mixed feelings

Aug 3, 2023

Going to the beach required some extra planning this year. 

For the first time, the Parks and Recreation department shifted its beach sticker system primarily online, only opening the Town Hall office for in-person sales on select dates. Residents can also apply for a beach sticker through the mail. 

While the system was created to increase efficiency, some residents say it’s done anything but. 

“I know we have to advance the technology and I get that, but I did just like pulling up, getting out and getting [the sticker],” said Maureen Sicard.

“I thought it was idiotic,” said Marilyn Cadieux. “It just seems to be absolutely crazy that if you’re going into the town hall in May that the Parks department does not have someone [selling stickers].”

“I think you need it both in person and on computers,” said Jacky Figueiredo. “Even if they limit the time that they’re open.”

Donna Medeiros said she’s “totally against” the online system, and said other towns that have tried the same system are having “nothing but problems.”

“If they were to do both, it’s okay because everyone’s happy,” she said. 

The new system comes as a result of staffing issues, said Director of the Department of Parks and Recreation Tim Lancaster. Only one other staff member, Recreation Coordinator Becky Amaral, works full-time at the department, and she supervises youth programs over the summer, making her unavailable.

The department previously staffed a part-time worker, usually a teenager, in the office to sell beach stickers. However, Lancaster said there were many instances of residents getting angry with the part-time staff member, so they’ve decided that’s no longer an option. 

While the system frustrated some, to others it was a welcome surprise. 

“Honestly, it was easier because you did it ahead of time,” said Jill McGee, referring to the ability to get beach stickers as early as February this season.

“It was so much better than having to go to Town Hall,” said Lisa Pavao.

“I actually thought it was easier,” said Jen Pacheco. 

“We just recently moved to Dartmouth, so for me it was just easy to do,” said Linda Wiegand.

As for why the new system has frustrated some, Kendra Lee, who was visiting from New Bedford, said it is “probably because they’re older people that don't know how to use the internet.”

Lancaster said the department has not seen a decline in beach sticker purchases this year, which shows folks are adapting to the system nonetheless.

However, the amount of time that beach stickers took in the mail after ordering online irked some residents of all ages, who wanted to get the sticker and get to the beach immediately.

“We had to wait two weeks for it, and I passed by [Town Hall] many times,” said Kelly Araujo.

Dawn Gamage said the online system was easy, but she didn’t appreciate waiting for the sticker in the mail. 

Alex Urbanek also had no problem wading through the online system, but the waiting bothered him: he signed up and got approved, but when he came to the beach, he was told he’d need to wait for the sticker to come in the mail. 

“If you purchase the sticker you should get some sort of temporary barcode,” Urbanek said. 

Lancaster said he doesn’t see that as a fix. 

“Historically there's been a lot of fraud in our beach stickers,” Lancaster said, “[A temporary code] creates gray areas for young adults.”

Lancaster said mail delays have stemmed from the post office taking longer some weeks, and that the department is looking into alternative options for sticker pickups next year. 

“I think generally the sticker program is being received quite well actually by the majority of people buying stickers,” Lancaster said. “It’s a learning curve.”

Next year, anyone who signed up through the online system shouldn’t have to do so again, and can simply sign in and order the sticker.