Vote ‘no!’ on Mayo Mill Dam removal

By Cheryl Piazza

Dover-Foxcroft townspeople, regarding the latest update just out from the town please consider this: Gomez & Sullivan was the company hired to evaluate our Mayo Mill Dam/hydro unit for possible refurbishment.

This company is just one voice and they generated a cost estimate of $4 million-plus regarding the revitalization of our dam. Don’t allow just one voice to determine our town’s future.

Second opinion anyone?

The premise provided to Gomez & Sullivan for the Mayo Dam Eval was to provide an estimate based on using the old hydro and dam. This underlying premise is incorrect. It’s also unnecessary and pricey.

Tech has moved on, a lot. Modern hydro technology can stand (or float) on its own … but it does need water underneath to work! Keep the dam.

Understandably this doesn’t follow their  “only solution” thinking of ripping out our dam in trade for delicious grant money. Plus efforts to rebuild on old elements conveniently hike the price.

Wouldn’t you like to remain independent from a vulnerable national grid? Get cheap and available electricity? Sell any extra to a power company?

Ever heard of the “family bank?” Dover-Foxcroft is like a family. If we all put in as much as we can, we could receive back interest that normally went to the bank instead of using one.

I’m going to keep my wits about me and think vs. panic over this “sudden crisis” laid at our feet

(who’s responsible for that poor management issue, being aware of this looming problem for 17 years, and not saving a dime toward it?). Never let a good crisis go to waste!

We really aren’t ready to hold a vote, but town heads are following a timeline.

So much more needs to be investigated because Dover-Foxcroft townspeople are the owners of this dam, which means we are all liable despite verbal promises to make good on any dam removal aftermath. Verbals don’t hold up in court like documents do. Think outside the box, beyond an approved dam rip-out narrative.

Think on this: If another presidential administration gets in shortly, they likely will be 

Pro-hydro and offer new green grant funding.

Even The Nature Conservancy admitted to the significant need for hydropower in the future at a recent library program I attended about the Piscataquis and Penobscot Rivers.

If we keep our dam, we have something to seek grant help for … otherwise we’ll have nothing to work with.

New hydro technology is safer for the wildlife and environment. We can modify to protect even more. It’s also financially reasonable to pursue.

Google “floating hydro unit images” to start. You’ll be amazed.

Our hard working steering committee hasn’t been heavily encouraged to follow this vein of thought to fit our needs.

If we, the actual owners of our dam, vote “no”, we’ll also retain river levels, as they are.

Don’t take our rive, we’re not done with it yet!

Side note: If we have a wildfire that threatens our town, where else will we get the water to fight it if not the river? It would be wise to retain present water levels.

Also without grant money from a “yes” vote, Jon Arnold (owner of the Investment LLC that owns the Mayo Mill Dam building right next to the dam) won’t be able to sell it back to Dover-Foxcroft, a building that is noted (in planning drawings for the future of downtown) to be part of the redevelopment phase of improvements. Dover-Foxcroft would have to purchase this building for it to be part of this plan, yet, it’s not a necessary item to make the plan work.

Who said we were willing to buy the building? Are we being told everything that’s involved here?

But we‘re encouraged to sacrifice our Mayo Dam and the river behind it, because we should. Don’t let anybody “should” on you.

Again, townspeople own the dam. Town heads are like property managers for the Dover-Foxcroft townspeople, public servants.

If our property isn’t managed correctly and we aren’t fully filled in, our property manager(s) deserve to be fired.

The need also remains for this investment LLC to spend its own money to build a sturdy retaining wall around their property so it doesn’t flood again, and consider other flood mitigation devices as well to protect their own investment. It’s not up to us.

This should have been done during the original renovation, as the building sits on an established floodplain! Duh!

This building is not Dover-Foxcroft’s responsibility!

I’m opposed to sacrificing Piscataquis River levels for the sake of someone else’s poor planning … just one facet of concern for this Mayo Dam removal.

What happened to the salmon?

Shall we ax salmon spawning grounds by lowering the river? Or ignore heated geothermal bleed water dumping daily into our river (24,000 GPD when active) from a Geothermal unit which the Mayo Mill Dam building installed to heat their building alone, a bleed that would replace “warm spots” behind the dam that would’ve been removed with a dam rip-out? Since carnivorous pike (invasive species) thrive in warm water and the salmon struggle in it, I guess we support pike over salmon. So much for the salmon, Atlantic Salmon Federation.

May our beautiful river be left alone vs. being given the ax.

There is so much more to know about this whole thing. Don’t fear the money threats and stay shackled to an “only” narrative!

Vote “no!” on dam removal.

Piazza is a candidate for the Dover-Foxcroft Select Board

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