Maspenock CIG member resigns after vote against herbicides

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Jamie Goncalves announced his resignation from the Lake Maspenock Citizens Input Group (CIG) following the Conservation Commission’s decision in May against the application of herbicides to control excessive weed growth in the lake.

Goncalves explained that he was appointed to the CIG in June of 2015 after a contentious Town Meeting, where a number of people made pleas not to use herbicides to combat the weed problem while others insisted it was the safest and surest option.

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The town’s new strategy was to use an extended drawdown to address the weed issue. However, an issue with a lake homeowner’s shallow well negated that option over the last two years (it was announced in May that the town was working to purchase the homeowner’s property in order to be able to again do drawdowns). With the drawdown option out (for at least the time being), the CIG went back to work, which included another public hearing and input from town staff.

After four continued hearings, the Conservation Commission voted 4-3 against using herbicides.

“This was the last step in a very long process,” Goncalves wrote in his resignation letter. “I was very disappointed with the commission’s decision after the countless hours investigating and assessing all the alternatives. What I found most disheartening is that the commission denied the use of herbicides that have been used by many municipalities and private organizations around the state to address excessive weed growth. As a result, another season on the lake will be lost.”

Goncalves wrote that after the decision he felt he could no longer be effective as a member of the CIG, although he indicated he will continue to support the group as well as Department of Public Works director John Westerling in their effort to make Lake Maspenock better.

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