Saturday, May 5, 2012

Bolton Town Meeting: YES to Fyfeshire Article #14

At the May 7 Annual Town Meeting, the town will be asked to vote on appropriating $250,000 to fund the lowering of the crest of the dam at Fyfeshire Conservation Area.  We, the Group for the Preservation of Fyfeshire Ponds, are asking you to vote YES to this article.

As you may know, in 2009 the state Office of Dam Safety declared the Fyfeshire lower dam unsafe and has required the Town of Bolton to repair or remove it. After much debate—repair or remove—a third alter­native has presented itself: to lower the crest of the dam by about three feet. This alternative has four benefits:
  • It makes the dam safer in a large storm by eliminating the possi­bility of raised water levels building up pressure behind the dam
  • It keeps the ponds intact
  • It removes the dam from state jurisdiction 
  • It is the lowest cost alternative
The Board of Selectmen has unanimously recommended this solution, and both candidates for selectman, Connie Benjamin and Larry Delaney support this solution.  For more on this proposal, see our blog posting New alternative would keep the Fyfeshire Ponds intact.

What other choice do we have?  To do nothing risks having the state begin slapping fines on the town to the tune of $500 a day.  To date, the state has worked with the town on this issue and has granted extensions to the deadline for fixing the problem because it believes Bolton has made a good faith effort towards a solution.  That may change if this article is voted down at town meeting.

It should be noted that Helen Plummer donated Fyfeshire Conservation Area to the town free and clear in 1969, and for 40 years the town has enjoyed the use of the area without major expenses.  A few grants have helped to build the bridge over the small pond and make repairs to the dam.  The trail maintenance has been done by volunteers.

Please support our efforts to keep Fyfeshire Conservation Area a beautiful recreation spot for all to enjoy. Your tax-deductible donations to defray costs of lowering the dam and maintain the trails in Fyfeshire can be made to:
Friends of the Oxbow (on check, please write Fyfeshire on the memo line)
P.O. Box 646
Bolton, MA 01740
Thanks !

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