Interview with Kim Roy, Chairman of the Halifax Board of Selectmen.
Why is this issue so important to you? Is it just that the town has lost control of one of its natural resources or is it more personal?
This issue is very important for so many reasons. Besides being a beautiful natural resource for our residents to enjoy, the practice of disturbing the natural flow of water is destroying our ponds and wildlife. It is about our small beautiful community not being able to enjoy the ponds. It has become personal, it is hard for it not to.
Why should all Halifax residents be concerned, even if they don’t live on the ponds?
Even for residents that do not live on the ponds, they still can enjoy them. Or may I say, when the ponds are open, people can enjoy them. In recent years, residents have not been able to fish, boat or swim for most of the summer. East Pond, this year, has remained open. I believe that the treatment administered helped. All of the taxpayers have collectively spent a lot of money on trying to maintain the ponds. All residents should be concerned about not only the tax dollars that have been spent, but also the impact that the water management of the pond has caused on the lack of use of the ponds as well as the impact on the environment.
Describe your feelings about Brockton selling its treated water supply?
To say that I was upset when I first heard that Brockton had been selling its treated water is an understatement. The taxpayers of Halifax, partly because of Brockton’s practice of disturbing the natural flow of the ponds, have spent their hard earned tax dollars to treat these ponds. To have Brockton sell the water to another community adds insult to injury. When I met with the Brockton Water Commissioners and questioned the fact that they made money selling our water, the response I got was, “we don’t make that much money.” If Brockton is making even a dollar selling water that we (Halifax) spend our money trying to maintain, it is wrong.
Would you be willing to cooperate with Brockton to find a solution to this problem rather than blame them, or have you been always willing to cooperate while the City of Brockton has been stubborn?
I think that trying to attend Water Commissioner meetings, reaching out to the City Council, the mayor’s office and supporting SWIMI grants have shown that we are willing to work with Brockton to find a solution. We have attempted to work with them, tried to engage them in participating in grants. Our latest attempts to get a response to our many letters have gone unanswered. It is disheartening that they are not willing to even answer a letter. It’s not the residents of Brockton whom I am upset with. Most probably don’t even know their source of water. They probably don’t know how green it is with algae before it is treated extensively in order to be able to be drunk by them. They have a right to know that their public officials are not only fully aware, but are ignoring a small community that has limited financial [resources]. I am not sure if the residents of Brockton saw that very disturbing photo of the source of their drinking water, and knew that our residents cannot go near the pond for fear of becoming ill, would be happy with their elected officials. I am still willing to work with Brockton, I won’t give up. I won’t give up trying to resolve this matter. I was elected to do the right thing for our community. Brockton should know that we are not going away. We are willing to work with them, but will not be bullied by them.
Should the Central Plymouth County Water Commissioners and the Plymouth County Water Advisory Board have any teeth to enforce its own decisions, in your opinion? Who would enforce an unpopular decision (i.e. a ruling against Brockton)? Would this be something worth years of possible litigation and who would pay?
I absolutely, without any doubt think that the Central Plymouth County Water Commissioners should have the final say in regulating water practices. It is in the 1964 legislation. If Brockton wants to use the 1964 legislation to use the water, then I will stand by the legislation that states that Brockton has a financial responsibility to maintain our ponds and listen to the rulings of the Central Plymouth County Water Commissioners. I am not sure that there is a clause about Brockton selling water, but then again, that is not what the spirit of the use of the ponds was ever about.