2016-05-06 / Letters

Evaluate what’s best for entire community

To the editor:

I doubt my letter will be printed in the Post as it seems that one specific party seems to always have a weekly letter for some reason while there are others of us who would appreciate our voices heard. Here is hoping that this voice can be heard.

The recent discussions and letters concerning the dam removal on the Mousam River have interested me for several reasons.

First and foremost, I am proud to call Kennebunk home and feel very lucky to live here. It is a beautiful small town with friendly neighbors and is idyllic to many who visit it through the summer months. In order to be completely transparent which I believe is important in these types of debates I will note that I am a new full-time resident even though I have owned a vacation home here for years, my parents have had a home here and my brother lives not too far away in York. I have always considered Kennebunk my second home in the past and have since become a full-time resident. I also happen to live on the Mousam River, am an avid fisherman found most days fishing the salt (ocean) and not the sweet (fresh). I have fished up river near the dam.

However, the state of the river and its banks are disheartening with garbage and the like found in many places. Also, the amount of fish are few and far between although there are some beauties caught now and again.

I am also not a Kennebunk Light and Power customer and happen to be too far from the grid. Instead my power is derived mainly from solar and whatever additional I need comes from Maine Power Company. Now that we have all that out of the way, I must say I am deeply disappointed in the approach to this discussion especially from one party who seems to have taken on a campaign-style approach to this affair. We are now bombarded by those ugly plastic signs along roadways that we so happen to all love when we see them every few years for various election cycles.

In addition, this same party is fear-mongering rather than discussing the issue at hand which is, evaluating the cost of the dams be it for ongoing maintenance or removal. Their very campaign slogan is “Save the Mousam.” Well where is it going? Truly the slogan should be, “Save the Dams” as that is a much more accurate statement of fact. If the Mousam needs to be saved it’s from us who treat with disdain and allow it to be polluted with garbage and the like. How many of us have gone down the banks of the Mousam and removed garbage? My guess is very few indeed. There is very little care given to the river other than by guess who? The Mousam and Kennebunk River Alliance, who help with a cleanup yearly. As for the look of the river, if the dams are removed, has anyone looked at the Kennebunk River where it passes under Route 1? It is not ugly nor a muddy mess as so described the Mousam will become. Nature has it’s own way of repairing itself and one would be surprised just what can change given a little bit of time.

So let’s get back to the discussion; do we keep or remove the dams?

There is significant cost to both decisions. However, keeping them is much higher and the ROI does not exist. I have yet to read an argument where keeping the dams would be a financial gain or break-even endeavor and instead would force customers of Kennebunk Light and Power to pay the cost of licensing and maintenance without any payback. Does this impact me? No, not at all as I am not a customer but it is important to those who are. Removal of the dams also comes with a large cost. However, it appears to be a much smaller burden overall. It will change the look of the river, how it functions and flows returning it to the way it once was.

We have for decades now artificially dammed the Mousam in pursuit of energy at the cost of the natural surroundings and those species that used to call it home. Now we have the opportunity to re-evaluate and determine what is the best course of action for all in the community, not just those who are lucky enough to live on the Mousam.

Kyle Wittet Kennebunk

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