Opponents to the development of wind turbines atop Ragged Mountain were successful in turning back an attempt to create a three-town committee to explore that prospect when, on Oct. 26, the Camden Select Board decided not to appoint members to the Ragged Mountain Wind Workgroup.

The nine-member work group was proposed by the Camden Energy Committee and would have comprised four members from Camden, three from Rockport and two from Hope. The ridgeline on Ragged Mountain runs through or nearby all three towns.

No project has been proposed, but studies have shown a viable wind resource on the ridge.

Supporters fail to volunteer

Of the eight applicants expressing interest in representing Camden on the work group, four were present at Tuesday’s meeting. All four expressed skepticism or opposition to possible development.

Cindy Gagnon said she would bring an open mind and a lot of expertise to the discussion. She said that the $50,000 to $75,000 that the energy committee suggested be spent on studies was not needed.

“You don’t have to spend a lot to get answers,” she said. She added that the positions of those requesting appointment to the work group might be an indication of how the larger community felt.

Jan Gilley said she was a recent transplant to Camden, after years of summer residence. She said academic researchers should conduct any studies, rather than those supported by corporate interests.

Andrea Young told the board that she was frankly opposed to development atop Ragged Mountain.

Sue Fleming said she was concerned about environmental and health issues that might be caused by turbines.

In the absence of four applicants who might have an open mind on the issue, the board agreed to take no action at this time. They thanked the towns of Hope and Rockport, as well as those who volunteered to serve on the work group and the members of the Camden Energy Committee for their service to the community.

With a number of open positions on town committees, including the energy committee, Chairwoman Karen Grove suggested work group applicants consider other ways to serve the town.

On Oct. 12 the Rockport Select Board voted unanimously to participate in the work group, but to delay appointment of representatives until the Nov. 8 meeting.

According to Hope Town Administrator Jon Duke, that town’s Board of Selectmen received four applications for the two positions available, but decided to postpone appointment until after Camden took action.

Duke said those applicants appeared to be open-minded, if perhaps skeptical of a possible wind development on Ragged Mountain.

Hydro plant generates power, annoys neighbors

In other business, the Select Board heard from Wastewater Superintendent Ross Parker about progress at the Seabright Hydroelectric Facility where electrical power was generated during the previous week.

“The bad news is that it makes a noise that is objectionable to the neighbors,” Parker said. He said efforts were under way to further insulate the turbine motor at the site on Mt. Battie Street

A Community Demonstration Project Grant of $50,000 will be used to refurbish a second turbine, he said.

The board voted to accept those funds.

Downhill bikers late off the mark

A request from John Anders of the New England Mountain Bike Association to support an application for a Recreational Trails Program Grant, to be used to create a lift-accessed downhill trail at the Camden Snow Bowl, was not approved, although board members expressed support for the concept of a lift-accessed downhill mountain bike trail at the Camden Snow Bowl that would begin in the vicinity of the big t-bar and be designed for beginners and those with higher skill levels.

Anders said the grant application was due Nov. 4 and that he did not yet have a draft ready for the board to review. Because his organization would administer funds for work done on town-owned land, Town Manager Roberta Smith said more information was required before a decision could be made.

The Herald Gazette Reporter Shlomit Auciello can be reached at 207-236-8511 or by e-mail at sauciello@villagesoup.com.

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