Friday, April 24, 2009

On the Rock 'N Road Tour '09

I just back from the first installment of the Rock 'N Road Tour '09.

And besides about five members of the
Citizens for Balanced Growth in Westbrook lobbying group (including State Rep. Ann Peoples), two reporters, and a couple public relations handlers, there were about 15 members of the general public on the tour. The time of the day, coupled with the expected entertainment value of a three-hour bus tour of Pike's operations, each probably played a part in the deomographics resembling more of a bus trip to, say, Foxwoods than that of a tour of piled crushed rock and asphalt. (Actually, come to think of it, what should the demographics of a tour of aggregate and asphalt look like?)

Anyway, after quick tours of Pike's maintenance facility on Spring Street, the Five Star Industrial Park on Eisenhower Drive, and the site of the Spring Street quarry in question, the VIP Charter bus eased onto I-95 and turned its nose northwest for Pike's functioning quarry and asphalt production facility in Poland. Once in Poland, John Koris of Pike Industries spelled out the steps Pike undertakes to mitigate visual blight and noise and air pollution at the facility. Then, after about a twenty-minute break to wolf down a
boxed lunch catered by Chefa's, the R-and-R Tour took a jaunt through an adjacent neighborhood to experience the relative calm of a Pike abutter, (though it should be noted the facility is just beginning to re-awaken from its wintry slumber and that we missed the scheduled 1p blast by about thirty minutes) before heading back to the Paper City. Once in Westbrook, the tour guides passed out Pike swag (I snatched a camouflage Pike ball cap for hunting walking in the Buckfield woods next fall), recruited interviewees for the WMTW camera waiting at the maintenance center, and urged each of the tourists to attend the Zoning Board Appeals meeting on May 6.

So, if you're interested in being cooped up on a bus for almost three hours (the general public's only respites from the caravan were at a rest stop on our way to Poland and during our lunch break near the entrance of the Poland quarry), but are curious about learning about what Pike does and are eager to hear their side of the argument, sign up for the next two scheduled tours here.

- John C.L. Morgan

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

The Poland facility is 590.16 acres (according to Town of Poland records) which is vastly larger (x10) than the Spring Street site which is only 60 acres total. The Poland site allows for plenty of buffering which the Spring Street site does not. Apples and Oranges.

Also of interest on the Poland web site is the current valuation for the Pike property. $510,400 for land and $238,800 for buildings. This is a total of $749,200 for tax purposes. This is the equivalent of 3-4 houses in Westbrook.

The City of Westbrook has to ask itself is it worth that amount of tax revenue for a use that will drive existing businesses away?

Also, if some towns are thinking about charging Poland Spring for extracting water (a resource that is replenished) shouldn't Westbrook be charging a fee for the extraction of rock (a resource that is not replenished)?