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Letter to the Editor: Good Government Changes Its Plans When Facts Change

October 17, 2016 Government, Opinion, Referendum 6 Comments

To the Editor: 

In a cacophony of recent Scolding Letters NotOnOurRiverPAC supporters have clucked and brayed that rebuilding Canton’s DPW Garage where it already is “violates years of planning” including the Upper Collinsville Mill Pond Master Plan (UCMPMP) which they claim enjoyed broad public input and support. Their claims are not factually correct.

Just one look shows “Our River” is distressingly full of sediment. Canton was granted funds by the State to study sediment removal from the Upper Collinsville Mill Pond as seen in this press release (http://www.ct.gov/Deep/cwp/view.asp?A=3605&Q=437920 ) from the State of Connecticut. Relevant part shown below:

screen-shot-2016-10-17-at-10-57-54-am

This sediment removal study was a consultant-led project. It was never funded for nor intended to be a comprehensive public planning investigation of the town garage site. No survey questions ever sought public opinion on the garage site nor on whether the garage should be moved.

Canton’s then-Selectmen chose five members for the UCMPMP Steering Committee but only four showed up at the four committee meetings that were held. See minutes here: http://www.townofcantonct.org/filestorage/19174/74/Upper_Coll_MP_Appendix_C.pdf. The meetings lasted an average of less than one and one-half hours. No one from the public showed up at the first meeting. A reporter, a couple of politicians and affected property owners showed up at the three others.

The only mention of removing the DPW Garage from the riverbank in the entire UCMPMP Steering Committee record is in the summary of the Survey Monkey comments where moving the garage was one of several off-the-wall ideas written in by one extravagant survey participant as documented in Appendix E page 16 at 53 http://www.townofcantonct.org/filestorage/19174/74/Upper_Coll_MP_Appendix_E.pdf

which is shown below:

screen-shot-2016-10-17-at-10-59-28-am

A duplicate report of written comment number 53 appears in a summary of that survey that was presented at the third committee meeting. But no evidence of committee discussion of moving the garage appears. No mention of any meeting of the minds or agreement on any of this. No public participation in forming an opinion that the garage should be moved.

At an October 27, 2011 public informational meeting a draft of the UCMPMP was presented to an astoundingly large crowd of 22 citizens composed mostly of affected property owners and politicians. A Canton Patch article reporting on the meeting noted that Consultant David Murphy said that removing the garage would create a convenient location for modular public bathrooms and a launch area for car-top boats. http://www.townofcantonct.org/filestorage/19174/74/Upper_Coll_MP_Appendix_D.pdf

It’s worth noting that the current plan to rebuild the DPW Garage where it already is provides public bathrooms and parking for recreational users. It also sets aside an area where ADA- compliant river access can be developed when funding is made available.

“Moving the Garage” likely was included in the UCMPMP for the same reason that Canton’s Plan of Conservation and Development at Section 8C on Page 59 includes it: Canton’s Permanent Municipal Building Committee told everyone back then that: “regulations make [re]building [the DPW Garage] at the present location, within the floodplain, cost‐prohibitive.” We now know that Canton’s DPW Garage actually can be rebuilt where it already is at a very economical price.

The Scolding Letter Writers should stop their clucking and braying and be delighted that their Town Government chose to ignore old outdated plans and utilized the most accurate information available when making its decision.

Lans Perry 

  • Michael Pendell

    Mr. Perry:
    Your vitriol is offensive. You will not win supporters by talking down to those that don’t agree with your opinions. Whether you like it or not, the POCD, which we are required by law to develop (See C.G.S. Section 8-23), clearly contemplates removal of the garage from its current location. Our plan calls for the river front to be developed for recreation and conservation. I guess the voters will decide on election day whether or not those plans are important to the vision we see for Canton. I am sure that regardless of how the vote turns out, you will have another scathing Letter to the Editor to write about some of your clucking neighbors.

    • Theresa Taylor

      His vitriol, while sad and pathetic regardless of which side you are on in terms of those running for offices and the issue at hand on the ballot, name calling seems to be de rigeur this political season.

  • cantoncompass

    Hey folks. I realize I chose to publish this letter and the responses but I feel this thread is pushing the limit of what I’ll allow here. Please keep the tone respectful.

  • Michael Pendell

    CantonCompass, I respect you and that, but his letter is not respectful. To accuse your neighbors of “clucking,” come on. If he wants to publish a letter that is less than respectful he should be prepared for similar responses. And, I don’t think I said anything that was disrespectful.

  • cantoncompass

    Hi Michael. It wasn’t my intent to signal anyone out or accuse of wrongdoing. I just don’t want anyone else to take this much further. I certainly don’t want to censor anyone but do want to make sure it remains respectful. Sometimes that’s a judgement call. In past situations, there have been comments I have chosen not to publish but I try to tell the person why. Additionally, I have passed on posting comments from two people who continue to try and do so anonymously.

  • Michael Pendell

    Understood. If I crossed the line I would want you to tell me. I agree we need to keep it civil. This should be about ideas not personalities.

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