WVN #384: Readers comment on transfer station sharing
- Dear Wayland Voter,
WVN readers offered many ideas and comments about the town's transfer station but shared one point of view: They like it -- a lot.
They said unanimously that they consider Wayland's station superior to Sudbury's. WVN solicited opinions in the wake of the latest step in efforts by the two towns to share resources.
Also in this newsletter:
-- Longtime moderator stepping down.
-- Wayland eligible for Green Communities grant.
TRANSFER STATION USERS ENTHUSIASTIC
It's not surprising that those who cared enough to write emails are transfer station users and often express detailed opinions. They consider the station a valuable service and generally favor retaining Wayland's station if one of the two is closed.
How representative this is of all users is, of course, unknown.
Several respondents said they particularly liked the "put `n' take" area, where residents can leave or take home household items. It represents a responsible way of disposing of things that are still usable as well as a source of practical things ranging from windshield wipers to tools, pots and pans, and children's toys.
"It rocks," said one resident. Another deemed it far superior to Sudbury's equivalent.
Respondents who compared recycling sections uniformly disliked Sudbury's.
"I've tried the Sudbury station and found it difficult to navigate and fairly useless unless you just want to drop off packaged trash," one householder wrote. " If we are serious about recycling as much as possible, the Wayland system is the way to go."
Another wrote: "Sudbury's efforts at recycling are truly admirable but the crude facilities for sorting cancel out those efforts. Wayland's facilities, on the other hand, are well organized, well run, and efficient, if not totally socially conscious. In today's busy world, Wayland will, I'm afraid, win hands down!"
"Did you seriously think Wayland residents were going to separate newspapers from other paper goods?" a respondent asked Wayland officials. "This only discourages recycling."
Others named strong points of the Wayland station: convenient disposal of bulky waste and scrap metal, well organized disposal of hazardous materials and electronics.
The response followed a Saturday experiment allowing Sudbury residents to use the Wayland station. (Since cost-sharing ideas were instituted last summer, Wayland's station is open on Tuesdays and Sudbury's on Thursdays, and both are open on Saturdays.) Users reported delays of up to 25 minutes on Saturday Dec. 11. It isn't clear what caused the delays, though some officials mentioned road closings in Sudbury that day because of memorial ceremonies for a Sudbury soldier killed in Afghanistan. Sudbury canceled plans for another Wayland-only Saturday on Dec. 18. Officials say they may try another experiment in January.
The Dec. 11 delays spurred some respondents to suggest ways of making a shared system work better.
Some readers say they refuse to use the Sudbury station on Thursdays, leaving them with the choice of Tuesday (when the hours don't favor most working people) or Saturday, when there are crowds even when Sudbury residents aren't allowed.
"I will not be using the Sudbury station again," one wrote. "I'll just hold the materials (including the frozen garbage) until I can get to Wayland's station."
Another user said: "Given the number of Wayland residents who use the landfill on Saturdays and the wait times that already occur frequently on a Saturday, my preference is for the landfill to be reserved for Wayland residents only on Saturdays. There is too much demand on Saturdays to expect one of the landfills to handle the demand of two towns. Many residents, like myself, can't get to the landfill during the week when it is less crowded. I'm in favor of consolidated services, but not when it has the potential to make the weekly run to the landfill a frustrating experience with a long wait in line and overcrowded bins."
Some readers suggested adding weekend hours, for example five hours on Sunday. Some suggested reinstating early opening one weekday to benefit commuters.
Wayland Town Administrator Fred Turkington had floated the idea of off-peak pricing to give users a choice of convenience or cost. Several respondents rejected the idea, saying that most users have limited opportunities to use the station.
Some respondents were skeptical about sharing with Sudbury as a cost-saving measure.
Said one: "If Wayland and Sudbury want to cut expenses, why not share those services which are truly expensive -- schools, fire and police -- not those, like the transfer station, which are marginal in the overall scheme of things? Let's not make using the transfer station any more complicated, expensive or inconvenient than it need be. Keep the Wayland station for Wayland and Sudbury's for Sudbury."
Some said that officials should solicit ideas from the people before making any permanent changes. Do residents value the services enough to continue supporting it? Is the transfer station an amenity that makes Wayland a better place to live? Do citizens value a popular facility that embodies the principles of a green community, and where adults bring their children to learn to recycle? What would replace existing services? What are the exact costs and estimated revenues?
Respondents who have lived in Wayland for many years noted that in earlier days the landfill, as it was then, was open on both weekend days, and at no cost.
Information about the transfer station is at:
-- Michael Short
LONGTIME MODERATOR STEPPING DOWN
C. Peter R. Gossels, the only Wayland Town Meeting moderator most Wayland residents have known, will preside for the last time in April.
Gossels announced that he's stepping down after 30 years in the elective position.
A Boston lawyer, Gossels was Wayland town counsel before becoming moderator.
In a conservative three-piece suit, and speaking in a New England accent, Gossels has embodied the venerable Town Meeting tradition.
Gossels brought many changes to Wayland Town Meeting, including most recently a new Town Meeting Advisory Committee and a new position, assistant moderator. Earlier he had introduced time limits on debate and "pro" and "con" microphones to promote efficiency and fairness. He is the author of the local Town Meeting handbook.
-- WVN Staff
WAYLAND ELIGIBLE FOR GREEN COMMUNITIES GRANT
Wayland is among 53 Massachusetts municipalities eligible for state grants by being named Green Communities. The town is now eligible to receive up to $131,775 for projects involving renewable power and energy efficiency.
Wayland was among 18 communities added to the list this month.
"I applaud these 18 communities - and the 35 that came before them for the critical role they are playing in creating a clean energy future for the Commonwealth," said Gov. Deval Patrick said in a news release.
At the November special Town Meeting voters approved a bylaw change to the building code requiring enhanced energy conservation measures ("Stretch Code"), making Wayland eligible to become a Green Community.
Grant amounts begin at $125,000 and are based partly on population and per capita income. Funding comes from the RGGI (Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative) program, which effectively adds a surcharge to utility bills.
Wayland's Energy Initiatives Advisory Committee is writing a grant application to meet the deadline of Jan. 21.
-- WVN Staff
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Wayland Voters Network
Michael Short, Editor