Select Board members say there’s no rush to remove the Warner’s Pond dam.
The town is looking at taking out the dam in light of the high cost of dredging the pond, which has grown shallower as it’s become choked with invasive plants. But residents have pushed back against the removal, fearful of losing a pond long prized for its scenic and recreational value.
“I don’t think we can emphasize enough that the decision to remove the dam has not been made,” Select Board member Mark Howell said at Monday night’s meeting.
Howell said a consultant is not only examining the option of removing the dam, but also “has the obligation to look at up to five alternative ideas for what might happen at Warner’s Pond.”
Some of the options so far: Dredging, which could cost $3.1 to $4 million; removal at an estimated cost of up to $3.3 million, some of which would be covered by grants; or doing nothing, which would cost nothing short term but might eventually mean spending up to $1 million on dam inspection and maintenance.
“One of the things I can’t understand on this issue is, is there any degree of urgency about taking any action on this? Certainly there is an opportunity to do nothing and let the pond continue to do what it has been doing for years, which is gradually filling,” said Board Chair Henry Dane. “I don’t feel any pressure to make a decision on this.”
Howell said through the consultant contract, there will be more “community outreach [and] opportunity to get caught up on what has happened so far.” Residents, he said, should relay their thoughts and concerns to local officials, including the town’s Natural Resources Commission.
“There is an opportunity for any idea to be explored in more detail before a decision is made,” he said.