Capital Projects Roundup: West Road Bridge, Natural Gas Tie-Ins

Public Works Director Tiger Mann during Monday’s regular meeting of the Selectmen’s Advisory Committee on Buildings and Infrastructure provided updates on capital projects in New Canaan, including:

West Road Bridge—Officials are waiting for the utility company to move its lines in order to start a bridge replacement project on West Road north of Turtle Back Road. Officials have estimated in the past that New Canaan is expected to pay about $921,000 toward the total $1.8 million cost to replace the bridge, whose headwall failed two summers ago. It’s unclear whether the project will need to be delayed until next year. Repaving—Eversource following the installation of a natural gas main and services to individual houses has started the overnight repaving Route 106 between Farm Road and East Avenue, and that work could continue through Monday. Roads that still need to be repaved and are waiting for gas services include Mortimer, Brinckerhoff and Lockwood.

Moynihan: Former Emergency Management Director ‘Told Us He Didn’t Have’ Access to OEM Facebook Page

New Canaan’s highest elected official said Thursday that the town had asked its former emergency management director “for weeks” for access to a Facebook page dedicated to the Office of Emergency Management. Yet the former director—Mike Handler, who resigned June 3 at First Selectman Kevin Moynihan’s request—“told us he didn’t have it,” according to Moynihan. “And [Wednesday] night we learned that, in fact, his wife had it and has been operating Facebook for him,” Moynihan said during a press briefing held via videoconference. “So we finally had got the credentials to operate the Facebook page.”

Moynihan added, “He was asked for it early early weeks of July he said he didn’t have it.”

Reached by NewCanaanite.com, Handler said in an email, “I have always done my best to help New Canaan in every way possible and always will.” The OEM Facebook page had been an effective tool in the past for communicating with residents in real-time during weather-related emergencies, as well as the first several weeks of COVID-19.

Moynihan: Full Power Restoration ‘Will Take Several Days’ [UPDATED]

Update 6 p.m. Wednesday

As of 6 p.m. Wednesday, 87.8% of New Canaan homes are without power, Eversource said—nearly 8,500 customers. First Selectman Kevin Moynihan said in a town-wide outcall Wednesday evening, “Due to a transformer failure on Main Street this afternoon, some restaurants are closed on Elm and Main, but several restaurants remain open downtown.” Original Article

Power restoration in New Canaan in the aftermath of a tropical storm had not started as of 10 a.m. Wednesday, the town’s highest elected official said, and it could be several days before all local homes get it back. Residents can use Town Hall or New Canaan Library for free Internet access and phone-charging, First Selectman Kevin Moynihan said in a town-wide outcall Wednesday morning. “Due to downed trees and power lines many roads in New Canaan remain closed,” he said.

Selectman Devereaux at Final Board Meeting: Spend More Time Listening to Residents

Town officials should listen more closely to residents and work hard to safeguard New Canaan’s heritage, Selectman Kit Devereaux said Tuesday during her last meeting on the Board of Selectmen. 

Devereaux, who is moving this month to Maryland, said that “having an opportunity to serve as a selectmen has been an honor that I have really enjoyed.”

“Just a couple of wishes on my way out,” she said during the meeting, held via videoconference. “I think we should be very careful about making decisions about what we think residents should have and more time listening to what residents say they want. And one thing, too, would be to not constrain public input at meetings of the Board of Selectmen to only matters that are on the agenda, but rather open it up to the matters that residents want us to address. Allowing just a couple of minutes to hear the thoughts of a resident could only add to the effectiveness of the Board of Selectmen.”

She added that town officials should “take care to preserve our heritage, it’s a small New England town, and to what helps to keep the historic look and feel of New Canaan.”

Devereaux in January—following a presentation by New Canaan Library on its rebuilding plan, which includes creation of a town green where the original 1913 building now stands—voted 3-0 together with First Selectman Kevin Moynihan and Selectman Nick Williams to recommend a $10 million earmark to support that project. Prior to casting that vote, she said losing the original library building would be regrettable.

First Selectman Approves $14,000 Emergency Replacement of Well Pump Controls After Lightning Strike

First Selectman Kevin Moynihan last week approved an emergency expenditure of $14,290 to replace the controls on a well pump at New Canaan High School that failed after a lightning strike, officials said. The pump “services the majority of our irrigation systems in and around the Farm Road field—inside the track, things of that nature,” according to Public Works Director Tiger Mann. “It failed,” Mann said Tuesday during a regular meeting of the Board of Selectmen. “We believe that’s due to a lightning strike.”

The Board of Selectmen voted 3-0 to approve the after-the-fact spend with Danbury-based Foley’s Pump Service Inc.

The company had installed the system a couple of years ago, Mann said. “They came out to evaluate the pump and determined that the well pump is OK but the controls themselves were in complete failure,” Mann said.