By Mary Macedo, Neighb News Correspondent
At its meeting on Monday 7/26 the Fairhaven Board of Public Works met with Brown and Caldwell about new recycling center plans, discussed Cooke Park signage and met with a resident about issues at Town Beach.
The board first met with Brown and Caldwell to discuss updates on the recycling center plans.
BPW Superintendent Vinnie Furtado informed the board that he will be taking the employees of B&C visit the current recycling center and then to the proposed new location on Bridge Street.
Brown and Caldwell representative Sam Chapin explained to the board that they spoke with the Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection, and they have plans to meet with them via Zoom and invited board members to join.
Board member Cameron Durant asked what will be discussed at the meeting.
Mr. Chapin said they will explain a summary of the current and new location, as well as why the recycling center needs to be moved and what the time frame of the project will be.
Mr. Chapin said they will also be asking the DEP if more permits and assessments are required for the new property. He said they need to ask the DEP what actions need to be taken to be able to use the property on Bridge Street as a new recycling center.
Vice Chairperson Robert “Hoppy” Hobson said that the recycling center does not require any digging into the ground. He said it is just a place to store recyclables, such TVs, mattresses, couches, metal, and brush, like yard waste.
Chairperson Brian Wotton said that after the meeting with the DEP the board can meet with Brown and Caldwell again for an update on what the next steps will be.
In another matter board member Marcus Ferro and Mr. Wotton brought up issues with the new Tree Warden.
Mr. Wotton said the Tree Warden is refusing to trim trees or go out in storms to remove fallen trees. Mr. Wotton said it is ridiculous, but the BPW will go get any tree that has fallen and is blocking a roadway even though it is the Tree Warden’s job.
Mr. Wotton said he calls for the Tree Warden to resign and go to town meeting and officially make Mr. Furtado the town Tree Warden.
Mr. Wotton said the tree situation in town is “disgusting, embarrassing, and unacceptable.”
Mr. Ferro said it is ridiculous that the Tree Warden has publicly stated that he will not go out in a storm to remove trees and has left the BPW to pick up his slack.
Mr. Ferro said the Tree Warden needs to stop complaining on Facebook and resign.
Mr. Wotton said if the Tree Warden wants to do justice for the town he needs to step down from his position.
Mr. Furtado said it will need to be brought in front of town meeting.
The board also unanimously approved the revised water and sewer abatement policy that states a licensed plumber and town Water Department employee must check the property for leaks; and allows residents to get a second water meter.
The second water meter allows residents to have one meter for the house and one for yard watering, which would only charge for water, not sewer. Mr. Wotton said he would like a copy of the policy to be sent to every resident when the next water and sewer bills go out.
In another matter the board reopened the discussion about placing a memorial anchor at Cooke Park, as well as signage stating what it memorializes.
Mr. Wotton said at the last meeting the board decided to table the topic to see if other residents wanted to speak on it, but no resident showed up to discuss the matter.
Mr. Wotton recommended that the board add the anchor to Cooke Park in the drainage garden area and then ask the Historical Commission to come up with signage or a plaque.
Mr. Ferro agreed and also said that the Historical Commission should acknowledge the undocumented/ unmarked graves.
Mr. Durant agreed and said the Historical Commission should come up with the verbiage for the sign and the board can approve it.
The board voted unanimously to place the anchor in the drainage garden and send a letter to the Chairperson of the Historical Commission to request the verbiage for a sign/plaque.
In another matter the board met with resident Mary Anne Walker about a confrontation she had with Town Beach parking attendant Gary Lavalette.
Ms. Walker explained that she took her grandchildren to the beach one day and parked her car in the lot by the tower. Ms. Walker said Mr. Lavalette came running at her and yelling at her that she could not park there.
Ms. Walker said she told Mr. Lavalette that she parks near the tower all the time and she can park there, but that Mr. Lavalette just did not want her to.
Ms. Walker said that Mr. Lavalette told her that she needs to park where he tells her to park and that he raised his voice at her and spoke in a derogatory tone.
Ms. Walker explained that she then moved her car to where Mr. Lavalette suggested and started unpacking her car with her grandchildren and their boogie boards.
Ms. Walker told the board that Mr. Lavalette continued to argue with her and said she could not bring the boogie boards down to the beach.
Ms. Walker explained that she knows the rules and the kids can use their boogie boards on the other side of the lifeguard signage and rules. Ms. Walker said she explained that to Mr. Lavalette and told him that she would be monitoring the children.
Ms. Walker said as Mr. Lavalette was arguing with her about the boogie boards another car pulled in and Mr. Lavalette started yelling at them as well that they needed to park where he told them to park.
Ms. Walker said that she and Mr. Lavalette argued back and forth for awhile and she said she did yell and get quite loud with him as well.
Ms. Walker explained that Mr. Lavalette also threatened to call the police on her. Ms. Walker said she is now very uncomfortable going to the beach when Mr. Lavalette is there because she does not know what might happen next time. She said he was very unwelcoming and he scared her grandchildren.
Ms. Walker said she is worried for other residents or visitors that come to Town Beach and have to deal with Mr. Lavalette’s demanding and unwelcoming attitude.
Ms. Walker said Mr. Lavalette needs to find a better way of speaking to people.
Mr. Hobson apologized that Ms. Walker had that happen to her. He said he was not trying to stick up for Mr. Lavalette but he said that they really needed him at Town Beach and he does great things down there.
Mr. Furtado said they need Mr. Lavalette’s skills with parking to help fit the most amount of cars in the lot safely. Mr. Furtado said the way Mr. Lavalette spoke to Ms. Walker was very wrong and he apologized for that.
Ms. Walker suggested putting tar in the parking lot and adding lines so they do not need a parking attendant.
Mr. Wotton said it is a costly project, but it is something the board is working on.
Mr. Ferro suggested that the board ask Mr. Lavalette to attend the next BPW meeting during an executive session to discuss the situation and how he can speak better to residents.
Mr. Wotton said they will add it to next meeting’s agenda.
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