Norwich Looks For a Place to Chill
The Norwich Pool Committee held the first of several public meetings to inform residents of its work to find a replacement for the old Norwich pool, which was destroyed by Tropical Storm Irene. The takeaway from the meeting? The fight to rebuild a new pool at the old site isn't over yet.
Anne Goodrich presented the results of a town-wide survey. The committee received about 300 responses and 65 percent wanted a new place to swim in town. Responses were overwhelmingly in favor of a spot with natural water, a beach area and convenient parking. (If those attributes sound a lot like the old Norwich Pool site, it should come as no surprise that the option of a chlorine-treated pool had the least public support.)
What came as a surprise is that there is a remote possibility that a new pool could be built at the old site. Even though the Vermont Department of Natural Resources denied Norwich a permit to build a new dam at the site, the pool committee is asking if a pool can be built by diverting water from the brook. The committee plans to discuss this option next month with the Agency of Natural Resources.
The other possible locations identified as sites for swimming or a location for a chlorinated pool are Huntley Meadow, the Connecticut River at Patchen’s Point, the Connecticut River at the Ledyard Bridge, the Dresden Athletic Fields, and the Ompompanoosuc River at the boat launch.
The committee is still in the data-gathering stage, explained Goodrich, and it welcomes ideas and suggestions.
“This is a town project, we want public input,” she said. Residents are encouraged to attend the next public forum in November.
So where is all this headed? That’s a question Jim Gold posed to the Selectboard in a letter dated Sept 6. Gold wrote:
I am asking this question as a resident of Norwich, not as a member of the Pool options committee. Unfortunately we will be out of town at the Sept 14th Selectboard mtg. 'Would you please read this question and let me know how each Selectboard member responds?
What is the purpose of asking town residents to put in many hours on a committee to discuss pool options when residents have yet to weigh in ( aka vote ) on whether or not the town should financially be involved in creating and maintaining such a facility?
The Selectboard accepted Gold's letter at its meeting on Wednesday, and Mary Layton addressed the question saying that the board was looking for accurate information about safety, accessibility and cost of potential sites. She was also looking for information to rule out impossible, unsafe, inaccessible or cost-prohibitive options, so the town doesn't keep reinventing the wheel.
Don't Swim Here!
The Pool Committee heard discouraging news about further exploring the Ompompanoosuc boat launch area as a possible swimming option. "It is a breeding ground for duck itch and not great for swimming," reported one resident.
This is the first we've heard of "duck itch." According to the Centers For Disease Control it is the same thing as "swimmer's itch" which it describes as:
Swimmer's itch, also called cercarial dermatitis, appears as a skin rash caused by an allergic reaction to certain microscopic parasites that infect some birds and mammals. These parasites are released from infected snails into fresh and salt water (such as lakes, ponds, and oceans). While the parasite's preferred host is the specific bird or mammal, if the parasite comes into contact with a swimmer, it burrows into the skin causing an allergic reaction and rash. Swimmer's itch is found throughout the world and is more frequent during summer months.