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Letter to the Editor: Future Focus

November 6, 2016 Government, Opinion, Referendum No Comments

To the Editor:

Economic development in Canton depends on the continued protection and enhancement of our natural resources and historical heritage.  We have seen this first hand with the development of the Rails to Trails system through town and the continuing streetscape improvements in Collinsville.  With the recent approval of the Tax Increment Finance plan for the Collins Ax Factory, we have also taken a major step forward in protecting and enhancing our most important connection to Canton’s past — an effort which will pay enormous economic dividends in the future.

So, with these experiences in mind, why do we want to obstruct the momentum we have achieved when it comes to economic development and protecting what we all love about Canton by building a new town garage on the banks of our most precious natural resource?  Realizing how vital the Farmington River is to the future of Canton, all our long-range plans for the town have called for moving the town garage off the river.  Yet, those who want the garage to remain on the river argue that the future is nothing more than an expensive want and that the so-called pressing needs of the present should take precedent.

I wish to argue that the future is now.  In my opinion, one of the factors any elected official should keep in mind when deliberating various issues is Future Focus.  How will this decision impact the next generation from an environmental, financial and cultural standpoint?  Keeping the town garage on the river will have a negative impact on all three, which is why I voted no to bring the garage on the river plan to a referendum.   Once built, any new garage will be the public works facility for the town of Canton for at least the next fifty years, if not longer.  If it is built on the river, future generations will criticize our decision and decry our missed opportunity to move the garage – just as our generation complains about our forefathers’ decision to place the garage on the river in the first place.  That decision was made when our natural resources were often regarded as dumping grounds (Canton’s old town dump was actually in the flood plain at one time).  Over the last few decades, however, society has begun to understand the economic and environmental advantages of natural resources and public spaces.  Our long-term planning documents reflect this understanding.  Let’s implement those plans and give something to the next generation.

Thomas J. Sevigny
Selectman

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