Officials: ‘Swap Shop’ Proposed for Transfer Station Waiting on Salt Storage Plans

Longstanding plans to install a volunteer-run “swap shop” at the Transfer Station are on hold pending a separate capital project at the site for a storage family for road salt, officials say. The fiscal year 2023 budget now under discussion includes $50,000 for a site and construction study of a planned “salt dome” at the Transfer Station, officials said during the Feb. 17 meeting of the New Canaan Conservation Commission. Pegged at $500,000 last year, the construction costs may well have increased since that time, Commission Chair Chris Schipper said during the group’s meeting, held at Town Hall and via videoconference. 

Effortrs to put in a swap shop based on Darien’s successful model are “getting harder,” Schipper said. “Until they get the salt cellar, we’re not going to get anything,” he said.

State Officials Investigate Oil Spill Polluting Bristow Pond, Bird Sanctuary

State environmental officials are trying to find the source of an oil spill discovered Friday in an increasingly popular bird sanctuary that’s undergoing a major restoration ahead of its centennial. The New Canaan Fire Department responded at about 12:16 p.m. on Feb. 4 to the Bristow Bird Sanctuary “for and odor and visible oil in the pond,” according to Interim Chief Albert Bassett. Firefighters installed absorbent booms along the waterway to contain the oil, though the source of the spill could not immediately be determined, Bassett said. Inland Wetlands and Watercourses & Floodplain Manager Kathleen Holland said that multiple town departments continue to work with DEEP staff “to assist them in locating the source of a home heating oil leak discovered Friday flowing into the watercourse that travels under Old Stamford Road and into Bristow Sanctuary.”

“Through a process of elimination, the potential source has been narrowed down to an area between Douglas Road and Orchard [Drive] but has not yet been able to be verified,” Holland said.

Conservation Officials Consider 10K Running or Walking Event to Spotlight New Canaan’s ‘Greenlink’

Citing a successful model from Darien, local conservation officials say they’re thinking of launching a 10K running or walking event in New Canaan that would spotlight the town’s “green link” connecting public parks and the downtown via trails and sidewalks. 

Robin Bates-Mason, a Town Council member who sits on the legislative body’s Land Use and Parks & Recreation Committee, and also volunteers with local nonprofit organizations such as Planet New Canaan and the New Canaan Beautification League, said the Darien Land Trust uses an event to bring awareness to its properties around Darien. “It’s quite popular,” Bates-Mason said during last week’s meeting of the Conservation Commission, where she was a guest. Participants pay a $15 fee, she said. The appointed body’s chair, Chris Schipper, said it could be “an interesting project.”

“I like the idea of people walking and riding,” Schipper said during the Oct. 14 meeting, held via videoconference. 

Referring to his request on behalf of open space advocates to allocate a portion of a $6 million windfall in federal funds through the American Rescue Plan Act of 2021, Schipper added, “And I have, in the course of discussing ARPA funds and allocations of funds, I’ve said we really have to promote walk-ability and bike-ability here in New Canaan and I think we have some support from [the Department of Public Works], we just have to get around some of these state road restrictions.”

“And I can tell you it drives me crazy I come up 106, regularly coming back from Greenwich, and I see young moms with a stroller walking alongside [Route] 106.