By Paul Conyers
The Utilities Committee met on Oct. 3 to discuss the ongoing activities of their subcommittees. Not only has the energy subcommittee been active with the recent aggregation plan, but they were ready to move on to a new project with a proposal to install solar panels.
“I was approached by Bob Slater of the School Board about working with the school system to put a solar array over the parking lots at various schools,” Chairman, Lynn Wiles, explained. “That’s something I think would be a great partnership, there’s not a lot of partnerships between the school side and the town side.”
Parking lot solar arrays are built over the parking area and are especially common in California, although they have also been growing in popularity in New England over the past few years. Members of the Utilities Committee were generally in favor of the plan, agreeing to look deeper into the proposal to analyze any possible downsides.
The water subcommittee wanted to look into educating members of the public on topics related to water in town. Alternate Member, Ray Breslin, wanted to know what the committee was doing to keep the public informed on their activities.
“Do we have a Facebook page, or what do we have at this point as far as getting the word out to the general public?” asked Breslin. “Getting the word out is really important.”
Breslin added that there is “a lot going on” with water in Londonderry, singling out the St. Gobain, PFAS lawsuit as an example. The Committee has a Facebook page, although members are still working to establish a system of regular updates.
“Nobody has sent me an email saying ‘Hey Jeff, put this up,” said Jeff McGraw, who is in charge of keeping that page updated. “Let’s get some content on there!”
Every subcommittee promised to have a plan ready for the Facebook page by the next meeting.
Utilities hopes to expand the water main on High Range Road from the current 8-inch line to a 12 or 16-inch line. Wiles announced he has been in discussion with the Town Manager to explore the possibility of getting grant money from the state to help with that project. It was unclear how the St. Gobain settlement might affect grant prospects.
The Solid Waste Committee was recently dissolved by the town council, as it only had three members. Solid Waste functions will be partially taken over by the Utilities Committee moving forward.
For the Internet and cable subcommittee, Wiles announced that the Southern NH Planning Commission is forming a “steering group” to expand Internet access into underserved rural areas.
Ron Dunn, State Rep. Liaison, announced that the NH Department of Environmental Service will be holding a presentation at an undetermined future date. According to Dunn, the DES property has preliminary slides ready and will hold two or three public meetings regarding the St. Gobain consent decree.