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Letter to the Editor: What are the alternative sites to the Farmington River for Canton’s New Highway garage?

October 10, 2016 Environment, Government, Opinion, Referendum No Comments
To the Editor:
We know you are in favor of a new garage. We all are. But if we’re not going to build on the river, where should we build it?  Everyone wants to know what – exactly – are the other possible sites?Not On Our River does not have a list of other sites, nor should we – that is the job of the Permanent Municipal Building Committee (PMBC), as established by the Board of Selectmen. Their responsibility is to look at these kinds of needs and make recommendations. The mission of Not On Our River is simply to remove the garage from the river. Members of the PAC Not on Our River are not building or siting experts and neither is the Board of Selectmen. The PMBC members, who have successfully managed many Canton projects, are the building experts.

The PMBC, in their letter of May 6, 2016 to the Board of Selectman and Robert Skinner, CAO, listed 17 concerns about rebuilding on the existing site and urged the town to construct anywhere else. You can find this letter at www.cantonnotonourriver.org, and go to “Links to Town Documents.” This is a must- read for you to gain a full understanding of the issue. Their concluding remark is “The committee is concerned that the pressure to quickly find a buildable site may result in a solution that the town will regret in the future.” In that same memo, they identified six other sites that they ranked as suitable and economical for construction.

Since then, the Town has further reduced the size and footprint of the facility, opening up many more possible sites for consideration. Members of the PMBC have stated that there are locations other than the river that are very likely to be less expensive and better suited for the garage. They also have stated that they believe the cost estimate for the river site to be significantly underestimated. The Board of Selectmen has chosen to bypass the PMBC, has not considered any additional sites with the new design, and has not addressed the concerns about the cost estimate nor some identified design flaws.

There is time for the PMBC to study other sites and for the town to move to a design-build plan that will give us a hard cost for the new facility. Another referendum can be held next year at any time – it need not wait until next November. Construction can’t start until 2018 under any circumstances, based on bonding considerations. Your “no vote” on November 8, 2016 will not slow the construction and will help the town find a suitable site that fits the town’s future.

Not On Our River is an all-volunteer group of Canton residents whose mission is to defeat the November referendum that proposes rebuilding the Canton Department of Public Works garage on the Farmington River.

The large and rapidly growing group is passionate about reclaiming Canton’s riverfront for public recreational enjoyment for future generations. Not On Our River believes in following the three-plus decades of publicly approved plans to remove the town garage from the Farmington River and create a recreational space in its place.

Not On Our River PAC; Officers:
Ruth Small, David Sinish, Gil Small, Marjorie Clarke, Carrie Sinish

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