There are no answers about what happens when this project is at the end of its useful life and how it will be dismantled. If the answer "I don't know, but we will take care of it" was a home run, UPC would be batting 1,000.
There has been an acrimonious dialogue in the press between the two sides of this question. There is a big issue that both sides should take into consideration before voting.
The issue centers around the ability of UPC to build and manage a project of this magnitude. People on both sides of this issue have asked for documentation from the company centering around their completed projects. After visiting the UPC Web site, it seems the company has not completed any projects stateside, which creates another whole set of problems. With no track record it is difficult to evaluate the company except with regard to what they have done thus far in Sheffield, which isn’t even marginally acceptable.
The questions that need to be answered include what kind of warranties we will have, that the project will be completed on time according to specifications, how closely the construction will mirror the plan given to the towns involved, and what assurances we have that the projects will be well maintained.
UPC "experts" are ill prepared to the point where it is insulting to the citizens of the town.
People, both pro and con, have been frustrated by the huge credibility gap that exists between the developer and the town. The plan seems to be a moving target and after multiple informational meetings, there are still more questions than answers. There is little information about the monetary benefit to the town. (If the net income from this project is multi-millions per year, then the $150,000 to $300,000 that Mr. Caffin has offered, depending on which day you talk to him, is totally unacceptable).
There is little to no information about the roads that will be required to build this project, where they will be located and what impact they will have on the residents.
There are no answers about what happens when this project is at the end of its useful life and how it will be dismantled. If the answer "I don’t know, but we will take care of it" was a home run, UPC would be batting 1,000.
While we can be divided as a town on the question of whether or not to host industrial wind turbines on our ridge lines, I think everyone can agree that a badly built and badly run project will be a disaster for the town, the region and the state. If UPC can’t get its act together and rebuild credibility with a stellar performance in the near future, I believe that all of us should vote NO on Dec. 1. After all, this isn’t the only developer in the world. It is not up to others to evaluate this developer and ask the hard questions. It is our responsibility to get the answers required to make a good decision. As a town being asked to host a $100 million project, we deserve better treatment and some straight answers.
If the chain of events thus far was a comedy, it would be quite amusing; however, when we are contemplating a project that will put over a million pounds of cement and 400-foot turbines on our ridge lines, changing our lives forever, it is not at all funny, but rather downright frightening.
Karla Wilbur, Sheffield
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