Again, I would like to take this opportunity to address several recent letters to the editor pertaining to the potential removal of the Potter Hill Dam. Mr. Buford, Mr. Perry and Ms. Poyer, if you live on or adjacent to the section of the Pawcatuck River in question, I truly respect your opinions. If you do not, then why do you believe that your opinions should have more weight than the desires of the people that actually live here?
As I stated in my last letter, if you polled the landowners on both sides of the river, an overwhelming majority would oppose altering the river in any way. We are the people that would have to live with the consequences of the removal of the dam every day. Mr. Buford, you state the dam removal will restore the “original wild and scenic qualities” of the river, it will benefit the fish and improve the quality of your boat ride. You also suggest that I should have to spend money to upgrade my well just so you can have that nifty boat ride.
Mr. Perry, most of your argument pertains to the blighted mill, which I completely agree with as I look at it every day. However, your argument for removal of the dam is relegated to opposing a “vocal group led by a relatively small number of individuals” who are “just opposed to changing things back to the way that they used to be.” The way it used to be? What are you talking about? The dam has been there for over 200 years. And as for the vocal group, we are the people who actually live here. Why shouldn’t our voices have weight?
Ms. Poyer, you state that “it will mitigate flooding downstream and provide a better habitat for the wildlife, especially migrating fish.” I see abundant wildlife on and along the river all the time. I do believe that the habitat is just fine the way it is. As for flooding, I lived through the 100-year flood in 2010 as well as every spring flood for the last 30 years. The existing flood plain has been more than adequate.
Again, I am calling upon the town councils of both Westerly and Hopkinton to put the interests of the affected landowners and residents above those of any special interests.