The Cat Dam Box 4B Controvery

by Karen Quigley

A ‘special’ meeting of the BoS was scheduled for 5:30 (they generally meet at 7pm) on June 28 with the sole agenda item being whether Box B4 should be checked or unchecked on the NOI.

The E-20 representative chided the BoS that the purpose of the meeting was to determine whether the box was to be checked or not, and not to discuss the reasons why. Despite this the chair allowed public comment to the obvious annoyance of the E-20 and the other selectmen. After all, what is the purpose of discussion if you’ve already made up your mind?

For those of you not obsessively following every detail of this issue, Box B4 indicates whether the project is for the purpose of restoring or enhancing a wetland resource area.

The E-20 and 4 of the 5 selectmen hold the opinion it is not. It should be noted it took considerable courage for the lone selectman to oppose the E-20. They are not known for their tolerance of differing opinions.

One current selectman, one previous selectman, the Conservation Agent, the previous Town Manager, the Interim Town Manager, and the engineer who prepared the original NOI on behalf of the entire Town think it is – or that at the very least it should be included in the discussion.

A 2009 letter from the DEP regarding the NOI, states “The Mass DEP would like to take this opportunity to suggest a comprehensive plan be considered by the Town to address tidal habitat/saltmarsh restoration in Inner Little Harbor.” That doesn’t sound like an idle request to me. You?

Reasonable people can reasonably disagree but then you have to have reasonable people. If you have the hubris to name yourself the Environmental-20 shouldn’t you want to include every option for improving the environment?

I guess we shouldn’t be surprised. This is the group whose engineer gave us the memorable quote “How healthy is healthy?” when asked how his plan meets the Water Quality Standards.

The Conservation Committee meets on July 7. It is expected they will close the hearing to public comment and schedule a date to discuss the issue. I hope they do. Enough is enough.


I have great respect for the members of ConCom. Theirs is not an enviable task but it should be made easier as they have federal, state and local law upon which to base their decision.

That and the knowledge that appeasement is futile. Whatever their decision, it’s most likely going to get appealed. By one side or the other.

In the meantime, as humans seemingly endlessly debate, the environment awaits its fate.

© Copyright 2011 Tanna K, All rights Reserved. Written For: Tinytown Unleashed