Tuesday, May 06, 2008

Bubble Study 5/06

The Bubble Study Committee met tonight for the first time. I'm not going to recount the details, but was pleasantly surprised by how productive the meeting was. And the Chairman, Matt Altieri, deserves credit for that. I sensed that he's concluded that we do need to consider alternatives to the bubble... be it a summer-only facility or a permanent structure or something else... the bubble has a lifespan and alternatives must be considered.

Anyway, I just want to give a special mention to the three people who I felt offered a lot tonight. Dave Gavin (Energy Commission), Dennis Rioux (Public Buildings Commission) and P&R Director Bob Ceccollini. Listening to those three did offer some hope that we can move past the bubble.

Dennis Rioux in particular seemed to send us in the right direction. He suggested the discussion should be focused first on deciding the questions to be asked... especially questions that can be quantified, such as "how much must humidity be reduced?" Which leads to the question of "how much must natural gas consumption be reduced?" Remembering of course, that powering a dehumidifier would require energy... and in that sense, these two questions conflict. To which the Town Manager suggested we determine "ranges" for answers to the questions... in the hopes that if we ever do anything... the flexibility in answers to such questions would lead to more responses from potential vendors.

Anyway, I felt it was a productive meeting. And if a few of the people who sit behind the dais got a bit annoyed with me for pushing this issue... so be it. I think most people in town are tired of the bubble and want to get rid of it as soon as possible. But having a discussion (without any expensive and useless consultants) is where it all has to start.

Tim White
Town Council, Energy Commission liaison


Anonymous said...

The question is not whether people like or dislike the bubble. The issue is the type of pool that best serves the community and has the support of the community. This question was answered by the pool referendum, which described an indoor/outdoor facility, and reaffirmed by recent attendance figures showing consistent usage throughout the year with a sharp spike in usage during the summer. In addition, at a special council meeting that discussed the pool supporters vastly outnumbered critics. Changing the current indoor/outdoor nature of the pool risks losing public support and that cost cannot be recouped through any amount of energy efficiency.

Anonymous said...

"This question was answered by the pool referendum, which described an indoor/outdoor facility, and reaffirmed by recent attendance figures showing consistent usage throughout the year with a sharp spike in usage during the summer."

That referendum, that we all voted for, was for a self sustaining pool. Not one that will cost us nearly a half million dollars a year.
"Consistent Usage" is not very accurate. We do not know the exact amount of town residents who actually have used the pool, they don't keep those records. They only give us the total amount of people who have walked in to the pool each day.
You contradict yourself when you state that there is a sharp spike in pool use in the summer and then saying changing it from a indoor/outdoor use will lose public support. It is quite obvious that the majority of the people who use it will go if it is just an outdoor use pool.
The bubble and the energy used to heat it is what is costing so much money. If we do away with that, then I believe it can become a self sustaining pool like we all voted for originally.

You will always get more supporters for an idea if they know there is a chance that something they use will get taken away. Just call the swim teams and their families and that would fill up the room, but that does not mean they speak for the majority of the town. They are a small portion and our council knows that.
Perhaps the answer would be a glass enclosure that will help heat the pool during the winter months and can be used year round, including when it rains in the summer. But if this is not feasible then I say make it a summer use only pool!

Anonymous said...

how much does the town subsidize baseball or
hockey or football? What worth is it to a town to have hundreds of kids being active and out of trouble? How much does it cost the town for the senior center..to keep hundreds of seniors active and out of trouble?

Anonymous said...

3:44 The town, through the boe, subsidizes quite a bit of hockey, baseball and football...I believe in all total of sports, the boe budgeted amount is $500,000 ( you can verify that with a boe member). Also Bowman subsidizes quite a bit, especially with football. As far as "keeping the kids out of trouble" well, that might not be very accurate...did you listen to the boe meeting from 2 meetings ago when they discussed the drug & alcohol survey? One woman stated that most all of the athletes drink, which doesn't surprise me and it shouldn't surprise you. The D & A survey results may not be all that accurate either because, as it was stated, they didn't have enough time to take the survey at the high school.

Anonymous said...

Even if an all-season pool is what the town wants---please don't tell me this bubble is the best we can do?

I'd say bite the bullet and put up a proper permanent enclosure. In the long run we will save ourselves money and have something worthwhile to show for it

Anonymous said...

The BOE does subsidize those teams as well as the swim teams and many other teams, and have for years. You aren't suggesting that we pay $460,000 so the kids can have a swim team, are you? The swim teams will survive with or without a year round pool.
You have to look at the bigger picture. We are wasting energy and money by allowing this monstrosity to continue to operate the way it is.
I know that when I voted 10 years ago for the referendum to build this pool, I was assured it will be self-sufficient. 10 years later, we need a new bubble and are contributing nearly a half million dollars to keep it running.
I would rather a summer only pool, which is when the majority of the residents are using it or a glass encloed structure that will help hear the pool during the winter and can operate rain or shine in the summer. Bite the bullet and make that concession, but please don't allow another bubble to be put up.