Hazardous waste disposal days, hours to change Chester Select Board discusses special town meetings on EMS building, loader

By Shawn Cunningham
© 2019 Telegraph Publishing LLC

The hazardous household waste collections that have been held at the Springfield Transfer Station a couple of times a year are in for a big change, which may make them both harder to access and more expensive.

Derek Suursoo explains the new hazardous household waste disposal schedule to the select board. Photos by Shawn Cunningham

Last Wednesday night, Derek Suursoo, who represents the Town of Chester on the board of the Southern Windsor-Windham County Solid Waste District, told the Chester Select Board that the vendor who conducted the collections – Clean Harbors – was no longer able to.

In the past, Clean Harbors’ collections were scheduled on Saturdays and ran almost all day.

The new vendor will collect waste  from 2 to 6 p.m. on Wednesday, May 15 at the Springfield Transfer Station, 135 Fairground Road in Springfield, and then from 2 to 6 p.m. on Wednesday, June 19 at Woodstock Union High School, 100 Amsden Way in Woodstock. There will also be two more collections in the fall.

Suursoo said that in addition to being less convenient, the collections are more expensive. While past collections have cost around $12,000 to $15,000, the new price is around $20,000. The question will be if enough people bring their hazardous waste to make the expense worthwhile. Suursoo told the board that in the past, the collections were well-attended.

Chester and other participating towns pay to into the Springfield Transfer Station.

Special town meetings in the works

Two matters that will result in special town meetings later this year were discussed. The first meeting would be to correct an oversight in this past March’s Town Meeting Day warning. While the capital plan included funding for replacing a worn out loader at the town garage, the warning did not and so the town cannot go ahead with ordering it until residents vote to do so. Town office staff are currently working out the timing of the warning and the vote.

Board member Lee Gustafson speaks in favor of the Building Committee’s recommendation

The board also approved the EMS building committee’s recommendation to go ahead with a contract to complete enough of the building plans for the contractor – Russell Construction – to estimate the costs of the building ahead of a special town meeting where voters would be asked to approve the work.

Executive Assistant Julie Hance noted that the EMS building vote probably would not take place until September or October.  Board chair Arne Jonynas asked building committee chair Lee Gustafson for a ballpark estimate. Gustafson said that based on the plans done to date, constructing the EMS building would be $3 million to $4 million and the rehab of the town garage to bring it into compliance with state codes will cost around $500,000. Gustafson told the board that the planning contract it approved will give the town a much more precise idea of costs.

Townscape asks for help

Chester Townscape members Tory Spater Somerville and Nancy Chute asked the board to approve a $5,000 expenditure for work being done to beautify the information booth in front of the cemetery on Main Street and at the Gazebo on the Green. The board had set aside $6,000 during budgeting to help the volunteer group, which has taken on a number of projects to make the Chester downtown more attractive.

Tory Spater Somerville asks the board for help on behalf of Chestertownscape

Recently, the group has had old trees and shrubs removed from the site, engaged a landscape architect to design the plantings and paid local landscape architect Scott Wunderle to install a new brick walkway from the sidewalk to the booth. These efforts were paid for through the group’s fundraising.

The town has already spent $1,800 on a new bench for the information booth leaving $4,200 in the appropriation, but after considering the group’s plan, the board asked Town Manager David Pisha to find the additional $800.

“It’s important when a lot of people volunteer and do a lot for the town that we should support them,” said Jonynas.

Town Plan review

The board began its review of the proposed changes to Chapters 3, 5 ,6 and 10 of the Town Plan. The panel decided to look at one chapter at each meeting, recognizing that the new energy chapter would probably take some time. At the May 1 meeting Chapter 3 – Utilities and Facilities was reviewed with comments for the Planning Commission. Future meetings will include Chapter 5 -Education and Child Care Facilities, Chapter 6 Energy and Chapter 10 Economic Development.


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