Happy New Year, Bourne
By: John Paradise
Turbines, transitions, and trash.
These are three of the big issues that the town will be grappling with during the new year.
For starters, what is to become of seven wind turbines being proposed in Bournedale?
The plans have riled neighbors, and the town’s selectmen have already voted to take a stand against the project. This vote occurred before the Cape Cod Commission or even the town’s energy advisory committee could sink their teeth into the proposal, separating the junk science from the real science and determining what sorts of tangible impacts, if any, the turbines would have on the surrounding neighborhoods.
A commission subcommittee is currently weighing the pros and cons of the proposal.
But any decision on the matter could be frozen if plans to declare an Upper Cape District of Critical Planning Concern (DCPC) for wind turbines move forward.
Earlier this month, the Falmouth Planning Board submitted to the Barnstable County Board of County Commissioners a formal request to have Bourne, Falmouth, Mashpee, and Sandwich declared a DCPC, a move that would temporarily block all land-based wind turbine development that has not already received permitting.
If the commissioners formally recommend a DCPC for wind energy projects, a limited moratorium on all projects on the Upper Cape would go into immediate effect. If approved by the Barnstable County Assembly of Delegates, the moratorium would be in effect for up to a year while the Cape Cod Commission, working with the towns, developed regulations.
In 2011, the town’s public safety departments will be in a state of transition as new chiefs take the helm of the police and fire departments.
Last week, Town Administrator Tom Guerino named Police Sergeant Dennis Woodside as the town’s new police chief. Barring a veto by selectmen, Sgt. Woodside’s promotion becomes effective on Wednesday.
He takes over for Earl Baldwin, who retired from the post in November after three years in the department’s corner office. Chief Baldwin took the reins in 2007 from John Ford.
We will be watching closely as Sgt. Woodside settles into the post. At the age of 44, Sgt. Woodside is a relative youngster when compared to Chief Baldwin and Chief Ford. Both former chiefs proved to be strong and capable leaders who demanded the respect of the rank and file. It will be interesting to see how Sgt. Woodside develops during his first year as chief.
As of this week, there has been no word yet about who will fill Bourne’s vacant fire chief’s post.
The post has been occupied on an interim basis since Chief Charlie Klueber retired in November of 2006.
In November, a dozen candidates from across the country, including four members of the Bourne department, took part in the final practical step in the selection process.
A chief is expected to be named early in the new year.
We hope the year ahead brings some stability back to this department, which has gone through some chaotic times of late.
From drug allegations leveled against one of its lieutenants to public disciplinary hearings concerning another firefighter’s inappropriate Facebook postings to sexual harassment accusations made and then dismissed against the acting chief, these past few years have been difficult for Bourne Fire.
Whoever takes over as chief will surely have his job cut out for him.
The schools are another department in the throes of transition.
Earlier this year, the district hired a new superintendent, assistant superintendent, and business manager.
The district is about to head into its first budget-planning season with these new leaders.
With the national and local economies still struggling to get to their feet, many residents are having to make do with less.
We wish the school leaders, and the town leaders for that matter, luck in putting together lean budgets for the year ahead.
In October, longtime landfill operations manager Dan Barrett was promoted to general manager of the site. For him, and the landfill, 2011 holds many challenges and opportunities.
Among the challenges is the stink wafting from the landfill.
The landfill needs to get these odors under control.
We agree that it has been much improved from a year ago. But there are still days that the site stinks.
Two weeks ago, work at the site released a new installment of odor just in time, unfortunately, for the neighbors’ holidays.
Trouble is, landfill officials say, the work that needs to be done to make the odor problem better for the long term, will in the short term make things worse. We do not envy Mr. Barrett in this situation.
As for opportunities at the landfill in 2011, we hope to see the town position the facility as an important piece to the future of solid waste disposal for the region.
If successful, revenues will be on the rise. The town, however, must be careful not to overextend the invitation for regional trash. A balance must be struck between revenue generation and landfill space so that residents don’t wake up one morning in the near future to find out they have no place to dispose of their household waste because their dump is full.
Playing into this whole situation in 2011 is the hope that the landfill will further explore the possibility of putting one of an array of alternative technologies to work to use up existing trash at the landfill to produce a sellable byproduct, such as energy. Not only would this generate further revenue for the town, it would also free up space that would allow the town to accept more trash, again generating more revenue.
Throughout town, there are so many questions to be answered in 2011. What does the future hold for the old Hoxie and Coady schools? Will town hall get its human resources director? Will we finally learn what grocery store is coming to the Sagamore Outlet Mall?
But if there’s one thing for certain in 2011, it’s that the New Year will certainly not be a boring one for this community, not by a long shot. So stay informed.
Happy New Year, Bourne.
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