2006-06-22 / News

Island trails guide nearly finished

By Michaela Kennedy

At its June 13 meeting, the Conservation Commission reviewed a draft of the Conanicut Island Trails Guide that is in its final stages before printing. The commission also discussed plans for repairs to the boardwalk at the Hull Cove public right-of-way, which will be an Eagle Scout project.

The commission reviewed colored drafts of the trail guide and offered suggestions for revisions. Commission Chairman Christopher Powell noted that the final size of the maps would be 4 inches by 4 inches. He also noted that eight trails would be illustrated using seven colored maps. The commission agreed to request cost estimates from a few companies for printing the guide.

In an update on the Hull Cove right-of-way improvements, the commission discussed work required and money to be budgeted for repairing the pathway. Powell told the commissioners it was important to know where the wetlands were and where to bridge it with the boardwalk.

"Once we know the boundaries, we will be able to figure out how much boardwalk we need," he said.

At the last meeting, according to the commission chairman, a representative from the state Coastal Resources Management Council said that only 100 feet of boardwalk was needed for the path. The commission agreed to make a preliminary determination of the wetlands and share their findings with the CRMC.

Commissioner Carol Trocki suggested hiring a professional consultant to survey where the wetlands were located at the pathway. "If we're going to submit a proposal (to the state), we need to flag where the wetlands are," she said. Trocki added that wetlands

were not officially designated in the area, "but there's definitely wetlands."

When commission members mentioned asking for bids for the consulting work, Powell noted that any project hiring a professional consultant under $5,000 "does not require a bidding process." Trocki volunteered to inquire about fees to outside companies regarding the consulting work.

According to the harbor clerk, the Harbor Management Commission agreed to allocate $5,000 in the upcoming budget for the Hull Cove repairs, contingent on a matching fund from the Conservation Commission for the same amount.

In committee reports, Commissioner Patrick Driscoll was officially recognized as the liaison to the Town Tree Preservation and Protection Committee. "I'm eager to become a part of it," said Driscoll.

In a response to a request from the town tree warden, the commission agreed to write a letter supporting the beautification of the traffic triangle at the corner of Walcott Avenue and High Street. Powell asked Driscoll to request a copy of the plan for the triangle from the tree warden, and to ask to whom the letter should be sent. According to the tree warden, the corner beautification project is part of a grant received from the state.

Driscoll also stepped forward to be liaison for the Ft. Getty Master Plan Committee.

In correspondence, the commission reviewed a letter from the Rhode Island Association of Conservation Commissioners requesting a list of all conservation commissioners in the state and their contact information. Commissioner Jennifer Talancy suggested sending only the chairman's contact information and names of the commissioners without their details. Powell noted that

a number of years ago a handbook was published, which included a checklist of all the activities that conservation commissions do.

The commission also received a copy of a letter to the Zoning Board of Review from Patrick Kilroy of Conanicus Avenue stating withdrawal without prejudice of his application for a variance

The commission discussed an informational letter from Anne Lane of East Shore Road regarding deer and Lyme disease. Lane reported 18 cases of confirmed Lyme disease in 20 households surveyed on the north end of the island. The board agreed to send an acknowledgement to Lane and a request to be kept further informed.

In a discussion of allocations of funds for the rest of the fiscal year, the commission agreed to allocate $500 to the Youth Litter Corps, if it was still an active group, give any funds that may be remaining at the end of the fiscal year to the Water Resource Protection Committee.

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