Debate on Kendall Pond Continues at Conservation Commission

The debate over a gate at Kendall Pond continued this month as the Conservation Commission discussed the best ways to not only monitor the entrance, but how to pay for it. During the last meeting, Chairwoman Marge Debois said she had talked to Assistant Town Manager Lisa Drabik about the gate. Drabik informed Dubois that Steve Cotton was “looking into it,” and more information would be available as soon as she got it. Dubois wanted to make sure the issue was resolved before spring so the area would be able to open on time.

At last week’s meeting, Dubois came back to the commission with an update on the gate proposal. Dubois informed the group that she not only had a price tag for the gate, but also had some information on a security system. The proposed gate will have more than just a padlock. In fact, it will be run by an app that the commission or the police can control by phone to make sure it gets closed appropriately every night.

“It will have an electric eye so if it were someone’s car it will stop,” said Dubois.

To run this kind of gate will take electricity, which Dubois said Eversource would have to install to the area. The benefit of having that power access at the entrance is it would allow the commission to also install a surveillance camera to record and monitor the entrance to Kendall Pond.

A security system like that, though, doesn’t come cheap.

“The grand total is just under $20,000,”said Dubois, but that would cover the cost of the gate and the electric pole to power it. The cost of the security camera would be an additional $750.

When asked who would be paying for it, Dubois said, “it would probably come out of our improvement project plan.”

This sparked a debate between the commission members. Some argued that it should be up to the town to pay for it, since the town owns the land. Dubois also asked about who would pay for the insurance on the gate in case of damage.

“It’s a prime candidate for vandalism,” Dubois remarked.

There was a motion made to approve $21,000 to cover the cost of the gate, camera and the installation of the electric pole. It was quickly withdrawn after members could not agree that the commission should be responsible for the cost. There was a fear that this would set a precedent for the future, one that the commission could come to regret.

In general, the commission seemed to agree that the town should pay for the security system, since it is on town land and is being installed to prevent crime in the area.

A motion was made to present the plan for the $21,000 to the Town Council for funding. It pass and will be brought forward in a future council session.

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