Archive for the ‘Encroachment’ Category

Gumby Poles need to go!

Monday, January 24th, 2011

Despite horrible weather, the turnout at the utility pole meeting was better than expected. The Selectman’s Meeting room was standing room only, and a few people had to lean in to listen from the outside. Even though it was technically a regular WMGLD meeting, General Manager Peter Dion spoke at length to answer most of questions and concerns from the audience.

The public commentary was overwhelmingly in favor of getting rid of the utility poles. Most criticisms leveled at Mr. Dion and the rest of the board were of the “what were you thinking” variety. To his credit, Mr. Dion kept his cool and answered them as best as he could.

The best line of the evening was from Bob McLaughlin, who called the new utility poles, “Gumby Legs.” The similarities are striking…

Click on the picture to zoom in.

But unfortunately, it looks like Gumby will be with us for a long time. Even under the best of circumstances, moving utilities like these takes 3-5 years. The good news is that the Chairman of the Board of Commissioners, Jack Warchol, asked Mr. Dion to form a working group to get all of the stakeholders together. It would have been far better to have formed this group months ago, but it is a better alternative than nothing at all.

So here’s to the Working Group! We will be providing updates on a regular basis until finally Gumby is banished from the head of the lake. In the mean time, keep sending us your support, and don’t be afraid to send WMGLD your suggestions and encouragement.

Public Forum on Oversized Utility Poles to be Held January 18th

Tuesday, January 11th, 2011

On January 18, 2010, the Wakefield Municipal Gas and Light Department (WMGLD) will host a public forum in response to widespread complaints and criticism of its recent installation of oversized, rectangular utility poles at Colonel Connelly Park located at the head of Lake Quannapowitt.

Colonel Connelly Park and the neighboring Gertrude Spaulding Park encompass newly created green space that is the result of a decade’s worth of public and private support to beautify the head of the lake. The addition of the utility poles has caused considerable and understandable anxiety among important stakeholders, including those who built the parks, those who funded their development, and those who enjoy the many benefits that these parks offer.

For reasons not readily apparent, public notice was absent prior to the installation of the unsightly poles, which now loom over monuments, play areas, greenery and walkways. Even the previously high-flying flag on its brand new flagpole is dwarfed by the poles. While it is unclear why public process was not utilized to ensure the protection of such precious park space, what is clear is that the additional services necessitating the installation of larger utility poles are to benefit a single commercial tenant, a San Francisco technology firm, that will be renting space in a nearby office building.

WMGLD has offered to host a public forum to discuss the addition of the poles at the head of the lake and to provide an opportunity to hear from concerned citizens regarding their impact on such a highly regarded area. This meeting is an important first step in airing concerns, obtaining answers to lingering questions and working towards a satisfactory resolution that will remove this blight from our newly renovated parks.

FOLQ, whose mission is to preserve the beauty of the lake and its surrounding areas, is asking concerned individuals, businesses and abutters to participate in this initial public forum. Because strength is in the numbers, we strongly encourage your attendance, but you should not feel pressured to speak unless you feel like it. Your physical presence is a message in itself.

The forum is scheduled for Tuesday, January 18, 2011 at 7:00 p.m. in the first floor conference room at Wakefield Town Hall (the first room to your right upon entering the building), located at 1 Lafayette Street. If you have any questions or concerns regarding the meeting venue or accommodations, we encourage you to contact WMGLD at (781) 246-6363.

If you are unable to attend in person, but would still like to contribute, you may submit your commentary to FOLQ through our contact page or by calling us at (781) 979-2400. Representatives will be on hand to present your comments at the meeting.