Town: Natural Gas Should Come This Summer to Town Hall, Fire Station, Waveny Pool

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The town has converted three of its buildings to natural gas and has plans this winter for three more before moving on to prominent structures such as Town Hall, the Fire Department and Waveny Pool, officials say.

In addition to four of five New Canaan schools, the town has converted a garage at Saxe Middle School, the Police Department and Schoolhouse Apartments, according to Public Works Director Tiger Mann.

Next up are the DPW highway garage, scale house and the control building at the wastewater treatment facility, Mann told members of the Selectmen’s Advisory Committee on Buildings and Infrastructure during their regular meeting Monday.

Later this summer, the utility company is expected to run gas lines along Main Street so that Town Hall, the former Outback Teen Center building and fire station can be converted, “then we are in the works, discussing with Eversource about bringing a line into Waveny which will bring online the pool itself, the paddle hut and then Lapham Community Center,” Mann said at the meeting, held via videoconference.

“The rest of the facilities at Waveny—the distance to, say, Waveny House or the Powerhouse or the Carriage Barn—is about half a mile of piping. And would necessarily be cost-prohibitive at this point to try and bring anything up to those, based upon the size and usage, whether it be beneficial for us to bring up anything further. And the rest of the facilities we have, the Nature Center, Irwin Park, things of that nature, Kiwanis, are a little further off where the gas line is at present, Kiwanis being the closest, but again the amount of usage that is there is quite minimal for the expenditure to bring gas to those areas and convert those boilers.”

Vine Cottage also “is quite small and probably is not worthy of conversion” at this time, Mann said.

The comments came during a general update on energy-related projects.

The long-planned installation of natural gas lines through downtown New Canaan was thrown off by the COVID-19 pandemic. The town is now entering the fourth year of the Eversource-led expansion, which brought service to 30 roads in 2018 and extended an additional five miles in 2019. Another five miles had been planned for 2020 when the pandemic set in, and town officials for months have been pushing for Eversource to continue the project.

Mann said during this week’s meeting, “We are trying to maximize the amount of conversions that we have and the usage that we would get, where Eversource goes. We are actually trying to direct them to different areas—say, upper Elm Street and things of that nature. And at that point, we will look at converting the train station over if that’s feasible and worthwhile, as well.”

3 thoughts on “Town: Natural Gas Should Come This Summer to Town Hall, Fire Station, Waveny Pool

  1. The further extension of the gas main of just 1/2 – 3/4 mile in late 2021 or early 2022 up Oenoke Ridge beyond the fire house to the Roger Sherman Inn would accommodate conversion to gas-fired boilers by the Congregational Church, St. Matthew’s Lutheran Church, the New Canaan Historical Society, the Inn (part of Waveny LifeCare Network), St. Mark’s Episcopal Church, the New Canaan Nature Center and The Roger Sherman Inn, not to mention a few dozen large homes along the way, including those down Gerrish Lane.

    The organizations listed are large users of heating oil and/or propane and represent a significant opportunity for Eversource to realize a quick and substantial return on investment with just half a dozen connections to the gas main. One of the largest of these organizations—which has already installed a major solar array and thereby cut its electricity-based carbon footprint by half—is in the midst of discussions about an upcoming boiler replacement—an $80,000 capital expense. Wouldn’t it be nice if this organization and all the others who will face a similar upgrade in the coming years—some very soon—could choose natural gas instead of oil as their energy source for the next 40+ years?

    Please, Eversource, coordinate with the Town, reach out to the organizations named above and prioritize God’s Acre and the 1/2 mile beyond up Oenoke Ridge for the gas main extension in 2021. This will dovetail nicely with Town plans to completely rehabilitate the sidewalk along this route all the way to Heritage Hill Road and minimize the disruption along the major route.

    Thank you.

    • Actually, given all the explosions/fireballs/fires from gas lines in the past 10 yrs or so, it would not be nice to hook up yet more of town to gas lines. Given the severity and speed of the gas line explosions in the news, it beats me why anyone wants to hook up our schools or any other buildings to natural gas. Penny wise, pound foolish.

  2. Also there are major environmental concerns behind natural gas. It is getting foisted on communities with all the disruptions as the wave of the future without getting full citizen inputs with major problems behind it such as the fracking process. Some states have banned fracking for good reason.

    https://www.citizen.org/article/hydraulic-fracturing-unsafe-unregulated/
    https://www.citizen.org/article/big-oils-100-billion-bender/

    There are major ethical concerns about how so many decisions like getting natural gas distributed without public hearings and environmental concerns addressed that it makes you wonder how politicians get away with this and who is profiting? If it isn’t broken or a vital matter don’t fix it.

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